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Full text of "The heritage of the desert"

CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




GIFT OF 
Miss A. Elizabeth Crosby 



PS 3513.^5""'™""" "-'""^ 
The heritage of the desert, 




3 1924 022 456 481 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tliis bool< is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924022456481 




[See page 120 



HARE RODE WITH MESCAL 



COPYRIGHT. IQIO. BY HARPER ft BROTHERS 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



CONTENTS 



PASS 



I. The Sign of the Sunset i 

II. White Sage . . . j 14 

III. The Trail of the Red Wall .... 31 

IV. The Oasis 50 

y. Black Sage and Juniper 64 

VI. The Wind in the Cedars 83 

VII. SlLVERMANE . 92 

VIII. The Breaker of Wild Mustangs . . . 107 

IX. The Scent of Desert-Water 120 

X. Riding the Ranges 134 

XI. The Desert-Hawk 157 

XII. Echo Cliffs 170 

XIII. The Sombre Line 184 

XIV. Wolf 195 

XV. Desert Night 207 

XVI. Thunder River 215 

XVII. The Swoop of the Hawk 235 

XVIII. The Heritage of the Desert .... 251 

XIX. Unleashed 261 

XX. The Rage of the Old Lion 283 

XXI. Mescal » . 293 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 



THE SIGN OF THE SUNSET 

" DUT the man's almost dead." 

LJ The words stung John Hare's fainting spirit into 
life. He opened his eyes. The desert still stretched before 
him, the appalling thing that had overpowered him with its 
deceiving purple distance. Near by stood a sombre group 
of men. 

"Leave him here," said one, addressing a gray-bearded 
giant. "He's the fellow s^nt into southern Utah to spy out 
the cattle thieves. He's all but dead. Dene's outlaws are 
after him. Don't cross Dene." 

The stately answer might have come from a Scottish Cove- 
nanter or a follower of Cromwell. 

"Martin Cole, I will not go a hair's-breadth out of my 
way for Dene or any other man. You forget your religion. 
I see my duty to God.^' 

"Yes, August Naab, I know," replied the little man, bit- 
terly. "You would cast the Scriptures in my teeth, and 
liken this man to one who \\ent dowi. from Jerusalem to 
Jericho and fell among thieves. But I've suffered enough at 
the hands of Dene." 

t 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

The formal speech, the Biblical references, recalled to the 
reviving Hare that he was still in the land of the Mormons. 
As he lay there the strange words of the Mormons linked the 
hard experience of the last few days with the stern reality of 
the present. 

"Martin Cole, I hold to the spirit of our fathers," replied 
Naab, like one reading from the Old Testament. "They 
came into this desert land to worship an J multiply in peace. 
They conquered the desert; they prospered with the years 
that brought settlers, cattle-men, sheep-herders, all hostile to 
their religion and their livelihood. Nor did they ever fail 
to succor the sick and unfortunate. What are our toils and 
perils compared to theirs ? Why should we forsake the path 
of duty, and turn from mercy because of a cut-throat outlaw ? 
I like not the sign of the times, but I am a Mormon; I ttust 
in God." 

"August Naab, I am a Mormon too," returned Cole, 
"but my hands are stained with blood. Soon yours will be 
if you keep your water-holes and your cattle. Yes, I know. 
You're strong, stronger than any of us, far off in your desert 
oasis, hemmed in by walls, cut off by canons, guarded by 
your Navajo friends. But Holderness is creeping slowly on 
you. He'll ignore your water rights and drive your stock. 
Soon Dene will steal cattle under your very eyes. Don't 
make them enemies." 

"I can't pass by this helpless man," rolled oiit August 
Naab's sonorous voice. 

Suddenly, with livid face and shaking hand, Cole pointed 
westward. "There! Dene and his band! See, under the 
red wall; see the dust, not ten miles away. See them ?" 

The desert, gray in the foreground, purple in the distance, 



THE SIGN OF THE SUNSET 

sloped to the west. Eyes keen as those of hawks searched 
the waste, and followed the red mountain rampart, which, 
sheer in bold height and processional in its craggy sweep, 
shut out the north. Far away little puffs of dust rose 
above the white sage, and creeping specks moved at a 
snail's pace. 

"See them? Ah! then look, August Naab, look in the 
heavens above for my prophecy," cried Cole, fanatically. 
"The red sunset — the sign of the times — blood!" 

A broad bar of dense black shut out the April sky, except 
in the extreme west, where a strip of pale blue formed back- 
ground for several clouds of striking color and shape. 
They alone, in all that expanse, were dyed in the desert's 
sunset crimson. The largest projected from behind the 
dark cloud-bank in the shape of a huge fist, and the others, 
small and round, floated below. To Cole it seemed a giant 
hand, clutching, with inexorable strength, a bleeding heart. 
His terror spread to his companions as they stared. 

Then, as light surrendered to shade, the sinister color 
faded; the tracing of the closed hand softened; flush and 
glow paled, leaving the sky purple, as if mirroring the desert 
floor. One golden shaft shot up, to be blotted out by sud- 
den da:rkening change, and the sun had set. 

"That may be God's will," said August Naab. "So be 
it. Martin Cole, take your men and go." 

There was a word, half oath, half prayer, and then rattle 
of stirrups, the creak of saddles, and clink of spurs, followed 
by the driving rush of fiery horses. Cole and his men dis- 
appeared in a pall of yellow dust. 

A wan smile lightened John Hare's face as he spoke 
weakly: "I fear your — ^generous act — can't save me . . . 

3, 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

may bring you harm. I'd rather you left me — seeing you 
have women in your party." 

."Don't try to talk yet," said August Naab. "You're 
faint. Here — drink." He stooped to Hare, who was lean- 
ing against a sage-bush, and held a flask to his lips. Rising, 
he called to his men: "Make camp, sons. We've an hour 
before the outlaws come up, and if they don't go round the 
sand-dune we'll have longer." 

Hare's flagging senses rallied, and he forgot himself in 
wonder. While the bustle went on, unhitching of wagon- 
teams, hobbling and feeding of horses, unpacking of campy- 
supplies, Naab appeared to be lost in deep meditation or 
prayer. Not once did he glance backward over the trail on 
which peril was fast approaching. His gaze was fastened 
on a ridge to the east where desert line, fringed by stunted 
cedars, met the pale-blue sky, and for a long time he neither 
spoke nor stirred. At length he turned to the camp-fire; 
he raked out red coals, and placed the iron pots in position, 
by way of assistance to the women who were preparing the 
evening meal. 

A cool wind blew in from the desert, rustling the sage, 
sifting the sand, fanning the dull coals to burning opals. 
Twilight failed and night fell; one by one great stars shone 
out, cold and bright. From the zone of blackness surround- 
^jig the camp burst the short bark, the hungry whine, the 
long-drawn-out wail of desert wolves. i 

"Supper, sons," called Naab, as he replenishea the fire 
with an armful of grease-wood. 

Naab's sons had his stature, though not his bulk. They 
were wiry, rangy men, young, yet somehow old. The 
desert had multiplied their years. Hare could not have 

4 



THE SIGN OF THE SUNSET 

told one face from another, the bronze skin and steel eye 
and hard line of each were so alike. The women, one 
middle-aged, the others young, were of comely, serious 
aspect. 

"Mescal," called the Mormon. 

A slender girl slipped from one of the covered wagons; 
she was dark, supple, straight as an Indian. 

August Naab dropped to his knees, and, as the members 
of his family bowed their heads, he extended his hands over 
them and over the food laid on the ground. 

" Lord, we kneel in humble thanksgiving. Bless this food 
to our use. Strengthen us, guide us, keep us as Thou hast 
in the past. Bless this stranger within our gates. Help us 
to help him. Teach us Thy ways, O Lord — ^Amen." 

Hare found himself flushing and thrilling, found himself 
unable to control a painful binding in his throat. In forty- 
eight hours he had learned to hate the Mormons unutterably; 
here, in the presence of this austere man, he felt that hatred 
wrenched from his heart, and in its place stirred something 
warm and living. He was glad, for if he had to die, as he 
believed, either from the deed of evil men, or from 
this last struggle of his wasted body, he did not want 
to die in bitterness. That simple prayer recalled the 
home he had long since left in Connecticut, and the 
time when he used to tease his sister and anger his father 
and hurt his mother while grace was being said at the 
breakfast-table. Now he was alone in the world, sick and 
dependent upon the kindness of these strangers. But they 
were really friends — it was a wonderful thought. 

"Mescal, wait on the stranger," said August Naab, and 
the girl knelt beside him, tendering meat and drink. His 

5 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

nerveless fingers refused to hold the cup, and she put it 
to his lips while he drank. Hot coffee revived him; he ate 
and grew stronger, and readily began to talk when the 
Mormon asked for his stoiy. 

"There isn't much to tell. My name is Hare. I am 
twenty-four. My parents are dead. I came West because 
the doctors said I couldn't live in the East. At first I got 
better. But my money gave out and work became a neces- 
sity. I tramped from place to place, ending up ill in Salt 
Lake City. People were kind to me there. Some one got 
me a job with a big cattle company, and sent me to Marys- 
vale, southward over the bleak plains. It was cold; 
I was ill when I reached Lund. Before I even knew what 
my duties were — for at Lund I was to begin work — men 
called me a spy. A fellow named Chance threatened me. 
An innkeeper led me out the back way, gave me bread and 
water, and said: 'Take this road to Bane; it's sixteen miles. 
If you make it some one'll give you a lift North.' I walked 
all night, and all the next day. Then I wandered on till I 
dropped here where you found me." 

"You missed the road to Bane," said Naab. "This is 
the trail to White Sage. It's a trail of sand and stone that 
leaves no tracks, a lucky thing for you. Dene wasn't in 
Lund while you were there — else you wouldn't be here. He 
hasn't seen you, and he can't be certain of your trail. 
Maybe he rode to Bane, but still we may find a way — " 

One of his sons whistled low, causing Naab to rise slowly, 
to peer into the darkness, to listen intently. 

"Here, get up," he said, extending a hand to Hare. 
" Pretty shaky, eh ? Can you walk ? Give me a hold — 
there. . . . Mescal, come." The slender girl obeyed, glid- 

6 



THE SIGN OF THE SUNSET 

ing noiselessly like a shadow. "Take his arm." Between 
them they led Hare to a jumble of stones on the outer edge of 
the circle of light. 

"It wouldn't do to hide," continued Naab, lowering his 
voice to a swift whisper, "that might be fatal. You're in 
sight from the camp-fire, but indistinct. By-and-by the 
outlaws will get here, and if any of them prowl around close, 
you and Mescal must pretend to be sweethearts. Under- 
stand ? They'll pass by Mormon love-making without a 
second look. Now, lad, courage . . . Mescal, it may save 
his life." 

Naab returned to the fire, his shadow looming in gigantic 
proportions on the white canopy of a covered wagon. Fit- 
ful gusts of wind fretted the blaze; it roared and crackled 
and sputtered, now illuminating the still forms, then en- 
veloping them in fantastic obscurity. Hare shivered, per- 
haps from the cold air, perhaps from growing dread. West- 
ward lay the desert, an impenetrable black void; in front, the 
gloomy mountain wall lifted jagged peaks close to the stars; 
to the right rose the ridge, the rocks and stunted cedars of its 
summit standing in weird relief. Suddenly Hare's fugitive 
glance descried a dark object; he watched intently as it 
moved and rose from behind the summit of the ridge to 
make a bold black figure silhouetted against the cold clear- 
ness of sky. He saw it distinctly, realized it was close, and 
breathed hard as the wind-swept mane and tail, the lean, 
wild shape and single plume resolved themselves into the 
unmistakable outUne of an Indian mustang and rider. 

"Look!" he whispered to the girl. "See, a mounted In- 
dian, there on the ridge — ^there, he's gone — no, I see hitn 
again. But that's another. Look! there are more.** He 
• 7 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

ceased in breathless suspense and stared fearfully at a line 
of mounted Indians moving in single file over the ridge to 
become lost to view in the intervening blackness. A faint 
rattling of gravel and the peculiar crack of unshod hoof on 
stone gave reality to that shadowy train. 

"Navajos," said Mescal. 

"Navajos!" he echoed. "I heard of them at Lund; 
'desert hawks' the men called them, worse than Piutes. 
Must we not alarm the men ? — You — ^aren't you afraid ?" 

"No." 

" But they are hostile." 

"Not to him." She pointed at the stalwart figure stand- 
ing against the firelight. 

"Ah! I remember. The man Cole spoke of friendly 
Navajos. They must be close by. What does it mean ?" 

"I'm not sure. I think they are out there in the cedars, 
waiting." 

"Waiting! For what?" 

" Perhaps for a signal." 

"Then they were expected ?" 

"I don't know; I only guess. We used to ride often to 
White Sage and Lund; now we go seldom, and when we do 
there seem to be Navajos near the camp at night, and riding 
the ridges by day. I believe Father Naab knows." 

"Your father's risking much for me. He's good. I wish 
I could show my gratitude." 

"I call him Father Naab, but he is not my father." 

"A niece or granddaughter, then ?" 

"I'm no relation. Father Naab raised me in his family. 
My mother was a Navajo, my father a Spaniard." 

"Why!" exclaimed Hare. "When you came out of tha 

8 



THE SIGN OF THE SUNSET 

wagon I took you for an Indian girl. But the moment you 
spoke — you talk so well — no one would dream — " 

"Mormons are well educated and teach the children they 
raise," she said, as he paused in embarrassment. 

He wanted to ask if she were a Mormon by religion, but 
the question seemed curious and unnecessary. His interest 
was aroused; he realized suddenly that he had found 
pleasure in her low voice; it was new and strange, unlike 
any woman's voice he had ever heard; and he regarded her 
closely. He had only time for a glance at her straight, 
clean-cut profile, when she turned startled eyes on him, eyes 
black as the night. And they were eyes that looked through 
and beyond him. She held up a hand, slowly bent toward 
the wind, and whispered: 

"Listen." 

Hare heard nothing save the barking of coyotes and the 
breeze in the sage. He saw, however, the men rise from 
round the camp-fire to face the north, and the women 
climb into the wagon, and close the canvas flaps. And he 
prepared himself, with what fortitude he could command, 
for the approach of the outlaws. He waited, straining to 
catch a sound. His heart throbbed audibly, like a muffled 
drum, and for an endless moment his ears seemed deadened 
to aught else. Then a stronger puff of wind whipped in, 
bringing the rhjrthmic beat of flying hoofs. Suspense 
ended. Hare felt the easing of a weight upon him. 
Whatever was to be his fate, it would be soon decided. 
The sound grew into a clattering roar. A black mass 
hurled itself over the border of opaque circle, plunged into 
the light, and halted. 

August Naab deliberately threw a bundle of grease-wood 

9 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

upon the camp-fire. A blaze leaped up, sending abroad 
a red flare. "Who comes ?" he called. 

"Friends, Mormons, friends," was the answer. 

"Get down — friends — and come to the fire." 

Three horsemen advanced to the foreground; others, a 
troop of eight or ten, remained in the shadow, a silent 
group. 

Hare sank back against the stone. He knew the foremost 
of those horsemen though he had never seen him. 

"Dene," whispered Mescal, and confirmed his instinctive 
fear. 

Hare was nervously alive to the handsome presence of 
the outlaw. Glimpses that he had caught of "bad" 
men returned vividly as he noted the clean-shaven 
face, the yguthful, supple body, the cool, careless mien. 
Dene's eyes glittered as he pulled off his gauntlets and 
beat the sand out of them; and but for that quick fierce 
glance his leisurely friendly manner would have disarmed 
suspicion. 

"Are you the Mormon Naab ?" he queried. 

"August Naab, I am." 

"Dry camp, eh? .. Hosses tired, I reckon. Shore it's a 
sandy trail. Where's the rest of you fellers ?" 

"Cole and his men were in a hurry to make White Sage 
to-night. They were travelling light; I've heavy wagons." 

"Naab, I reckon you shore wouldn't tell a lie ?" 

"I have never lied." 

"Heerd of a young feller thet was in Lund — pale chap — 
lunger, we'd call him back West ?" 

"I heard that he had been mistaken for a spy at Lund 
and had fled toward Bane." 

10 



THE SIGN OF THE SUNSET 

"Hain't seen nothin' of him this side of Lund?" 

"No." 

"Seen any Navvies ?" 

"Yes." 

The outlaw stared hard at him. Apparently he was aboue 
to speak of the Navajos, for his quick uplift of head at 
Naab's blunt affirmative suggested the impulse. But he 
checked himself and slowly drew on his gloves. 

"Naab, I'm shore comin' to visit you some day. Never 
been over thet range. Heerd you hed fine water, fine 
cattle. An' say, I seen thet little Navajo girl you have, an' 
I wouldn't mind seein' her again." 

August Naab kicked the fire into brighter blaze. "Yes, 
fine range," he presently replied, his gaze fixed on Dene. 
"Fine water, fine cattle, fine browse. I've a fine grave- 
yard, too; thirty graves, and not one a woman's. Fine 
place for graves, the canon country. You don't have to 
dig. There's one grave the Indians never named; it's 
three thousand feet deep." 

"Thet must be in hell," replied Dene, with a smile, 
ignoring the covert meaning. He leisurely surveyed Naab's 
four sons, the wagons and horses, till his eye fell upon Hare 
and Mescal. With that he swung in his saddle as if to 
dismount. 

"I shore want a look around." 

"Get down, get down," returned the Mormon. The 
deep voice, unwelcoming, vibrant with an odd ring, would 
have struck a less suspicious man than Dene. The outlaw 
swung his leg back over the pommel, sagged in the saddle, 
and appeared to be pondering the question. Plainly he 
was uncertaift of his ground. But his indecision was brief. 
2 II 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"Two-Spot, you look 'em over," he ordered. 

The third horseman dismounted and went toward the 
wagons. 

Hare, watching this scene, became conscious that his 
fear had intensified with the recognition of Two-Spot as 
Chance, the outlaw whom he would not soon forget. In 
his excitement he moved against Mescal and felt her trem- 
bling violently. 

"Are you afraid ?" he whispered. 

"Yes, of Dene." 

The outlaw rummaged in one of the wagons, pulled aside 
the canvas flaps of the other, laughed harshly, and then 
with clinking spurs tramped through the camp, kicking 
the beds, overturning a pile of saddles, and making dis- 
order generally, till he spied the couple sitting on the stone 
in the shadow. 

As the outlaw lurched that way, Hare, with a start of 
recollection, took Mescal in his arms and leaned his head 
against hers. He felt one of her hands lightly brush his 
shoulder and rest there, trembling. 

Shuffling footsteps scraped the sand, sounded nearer and 
nearer, slowed and paused. 

"Sparkin'l Dead to the world. Haw! Haw! Haw!" 

The coarse laugh gave place to moving footsteps. The 
rattling clink of stirrup and spur mingled with the restless 
stamp of horse. Chance had mounted. Dene's voice 
drawled out: "Good-bye, Naab, I shore will see you all 
some day." The heavy thuds of many hoofs evened into 
a roar that diminished as it rushed away. 

In unutterable relief Hare realized his deliverance. He 
tried to rise, but power of movement had gone from him. 

12 



THE SIGN OF THE SUNSET 

He was fainting, yet his sensations were singularly acute. 
Mescal's hand dropped from his shoulder; her cheek, that 
had been cold against his, grew hot; she quivered through 
all her slender length. Confusion claimed his senses- 
Gratitude and hope flooded his soul. Something sweet 
and beautiful, the touch of this desert girl, rioted in his 
blood; his heart swelled in exquisite agony. Then he 
was whirling in darkness; and he knew no more. 



n 

WHITE SAGE 

THE night was as a blank to Hare; the morning like a 
drifting of hazy clouds before his eyes. He felt 
himself moving; and when he awakened clearly to con- 
sciousness he lay upon a couch on the vine-covered porch 
of a cottage. He saw August Naab open a garden gate 
to admit Martin Cole. They met as friends; no trace of 
scorn marred August's greeting, and Martin was not the 
same man who had shown fear on the desert. His welcome 
was one of respectful regard for his superior. 

"Elder, I heard you were safe in," he said, fervently. 
"We feared — I know not what. I was distressed till I 
got the news of your arrival. How's the young man ?" 

"He's very ill. But while there's life there's hope." 

"Will the Bishop administer to him ?" 

"Gladly, if the young man's willing. Come, let's go in." 

" Wait, August," said Cole. " Did you know your son 
Snap was in the village ?" 

"My son here!" August Naab betrayed anxiety. "I 
left him home with work. He shouldn't have come. Is — 
is he—" 

"He's drinking and in an ugly mood. It seems he 
traded horses with Jeff Larsen, and got the worst of the 
deal. There's pretty sure to be a fight." 

14 



WHITE SAGE 

"He always hated Larsen." 

"Small wonder. Larsen is mean; he's as bad as we've 
got and that's saying a good deal. Snap has done worse 
things than fight with Larsen. He's doing a worse thing 
now, August — he's too friendly with Dene." 

"I've heard — I've heard it before. But, Martin, what 
can I do?" 

"Do? God knows. What can any of us do? Times 
have changed, August. Dene is here in White Sage, free, 
welcome in many homes. Some of our neighbors, per- 
haps men we trust, are secret members of this rustler's 
band." 

"You're right. Cole. There are Mormons who are 
cattle-thieves. To my eternal shame I confess it. Under 
cover of night they ride with Dene, and here in our midst 
they meet him in easy tolerance. Driven from Montana 
he comes here to corrupt our young men. God's mercy!" 

"August, some of our young men need no one to corrupt 
them. Dene had no great task to win them. He rode in 
here with a few outlaws and now he has a strong band. 
We've got to face it. We haven't any law, but he can be 
killed. Some one must kill him. Yet bad as Dene is, he 
doesn't threaten our living as Holderness does. Dene 
steals a few cattle, kills a man here and there. Holderness 
reaches out and takes our springs. Because we've no law 
to stop him, he steals the blood of our life — ^water — ^water — 
God's gift to the desert! Some one must kill Holderness, 
too!" 

"Martin, this lust to kill is a fearful thing. Come in, 
you must pray with the Bishop." ' 

"No, it's not prayer I need. Elder." replied Gole, stub- 

^5 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

bornly. "I'm still a good Mormon. What I want is the 
stock I've lost, and my fields green again." 

August Naab had no answer for his friend. A very old 
man with snow-white hair and beard came out on the porch. 

"Bishop, brother Martin is railing again," said Naab, a? 
Cole bared his head. 

"Martin, my son, unbosom thyself," rejoined the Bishop. 

"Black doubt and no light," said Cole, despondently. 
"I'm of the younger generation of Mormons, and faith is 
harder for me. I see signs you can't see. I've had trials 
hard to bear. I was rich in cattle, sheep, and water. These 
Gentiles, this rancher Holderness and this outlaw Dene, 
have driven my cattle, killed my sheep, piped my 
water off my fields. I don't like the present. We are 
no longer in the old days. Our young men are drifting 
away, and the few who return come with ideas opposed 
to Mormonism. Our girls and boys are growing up in- 
fluenced by the Gentiles among us. They intermarry, 
and that's a death-blow to our creed." 

"Martin, cast out this poison from your heart. Return 
to your faith. The millennium will come. Christ will 
reign on earth again. The ten tribes of Israel will be re- 
stored. The Book of Mormon is the Word of God. The 
creed will live. We may suffer here and die, but our spirits 
will go marching on; and the City of Zion will be builded 
over our graves." 

Cole held up his hands in a meekness that signified hope 
if not faith. 

August Naab bent over Hare. "I would like to have 
the Bishop administer to you," he said. 

"What's that?" asked Hare. 

i6 



WHITE SAGE 

" A Mormon custom, ' the laying on of hands.' We know 
its efficacy in trouble and illness. A Bishop of the Mor- 
mon Church has the gift of tongues, of prophecy, of revela- 
ation, of healing. Let him administer to you. It entails 
no obligation. Accept it as a prayer." 

"I'm willing," replied the young man. 

Thereupon Naab spoke a few low words to some one 
through the open door. Voices ceased; soft footsteps 
sounded without; women crossed the threshold, followed 
by tall young men and rosy-cheeked girls and round-eyed 
children. A white-haired old woman came forward with 
solemn dignity. She carried a silver bowl which she held 
for the Bishop as he stood close by Hare's couch. The 
Bishop put his hands into the bowl, anointing them with 
fragrant oil; then he placed them on the young man's 
head, and offered up a brief prayer, beautiful in its sim- 
plicity and tremulous utterance. 

The ceremony ended, the onlookers came forward with 
pleasant words on their lips, pleasant smiles on their faces. 
The children filed by his couch, bashful yet sympathetic; 
the women murmured, the young men grasped his hand. 
Mescal flitted by with downcast eye, with shy smile, but 
no word. 

"Your fever is gone," said August Naab, with his hand 
on Hare's cheek. 

"It comes and goes suddenly," replied Hare. "I feel 
better now, only I'm oppressed. I can't breathe freely. I 
want air, and I'm hungry." 

"Mother Mary, the lad's hungry. Judith, Esther, where 
are your wits ? Help your mother. Mescal, wait on him, 
see to his comfort." 

17 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Mescal brought a little table and a pillow, and the other 
girls soon followed with food and drink; then they hovered 
about, absorbed in caring for him. 

"They said I fell among thieves," mused Hare, when he 
was once more alone. "I've fallen among saints as well.' 
He felt that he could never repay this August Naab. "If 
only I might live!" he ejaculated. How restful was this 
cottage garden! The green sward was a balm to his eyes. 
Flowers new to him, though of familiar springtime hue, 
lifted fresh faces everywhere; fruit-trees, with branches 
intermingling, blended the white and pink of blossoms. 
There was the soft laughter of children in the garden. 
Strange birds darted among the trees. Their notes were 
new, but their song was the old delicious monotone — ^the 
joy of living and love of spring. A green-bowered irriga- 
tion ditch led by the porch and unseen water flowed gently, 
with gurgle and tinkle, with music in its hurry. Innumer- 
able bees murmured amid the blossoms. 

Hare fell asleep. Upon returning drowsily to conscious- 
ness he caught through half-open eyes the gleam of level 
shafts of gold sunlight low down in the trees; then he felt 
himself being carried into the house to be laid upon a bed. 
Some one gently unbuttoned his shirt at the neck, removed 
his shoes, and covered him with a blanket. Before he had 
fully awakened he was left alone, and quiet settled over the 
house. A languorous sense of ease and rest lulled him to 
sleep again. In another moment, it seemed to him, he 
was awake; bright daylight streamed through the window, 
and a morning breeze stirred the faded curtain. 

The drag in his breathing which was always a forerunner 
of a cougbing-spell warned him now; he put on coat and 

l8 



WHITE SAGE 

shoes and went outside, where his cough attacked him, had 
its sway, and left him. 

"Good-moming," sang out August Naab's cheery voice. 
"Sixteen hours of sleep, my lad!" 

"I did sleep, didn't I ? No wonder I feel well this morn" 
ing. A peculiarity of my illness is that one day I'm 
down, the next day up." 

"With the goodness of God, my lad, we'll gradually 
increase the days up. Go in to breakfast. Afterward I 
want to talk to you. This'U be a busy day for me, shoeing 
the horses and packing supplies. I want to start for home 
to-moiTow." 

Hare pondered over Naab's words while he ate. The 
suggestion in them, implying a relation to his future, made 
him wonder if the good Mormon intended to take him to 
his desert home. He hoped so, and warmed anew to this 
friend. But he had no enthusiasm for himself; his future 
seemed hopeless. 

Naab was waiting for him on the porch, and drew him 
away from the cottage down the path toward the gate. 

"I want you to go home with me." 

"You're kind — I'm only a sort of beggar — I've no strength 
left to work my way. I'll go — though it's only to die." 

"I haven't the gift of revelation — ^yet somehow I see that 
you won't die of this illness. You will come home with 
me. It's a beautiful place, my Navajo oasis. The Indians 
call it the Garden of Eschtah. If you can get well any- 
where it'll be there." 

"I'll go — but I ought not. What can I do for you 5 
Nothing." 

"No man can ever tell what he may do for another. The 

19 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

time may come — well, John, is it settled ?" He offered his 
huge broad hand. 

"It's settled — I — " Hare faltered as he put his hand in 
Naab's. The Mormon's grip straightened his frame and 
braced him. Strength and simplicity flowed from the 
giant's toil-hardened palm. Hare swallowed his thanks 
a!ong with his emotion, and for what he had intended to 
say he substituted: "No one ever called me John. I 
don't know the name. Call me Jack." 

"Very well. Jack, and now let's see. You'll need some 
things from the store. Can you come with me ? It's not 
far." 

" Surely. And now what I need most is a razor to scrape 
the alkali and stubble off my face." 

The wide street, bordered by cottages peeping out of 
green and white orchards, stretched in a straight line to 
the base of the ascent which led up to the Pink Cliffs. A 
green square enclosed a gray church, a school-house and 
public hall. Farther down the main thoroughfare were 
several weather-boarded whitewashed stores. Two dusty 
men were riding along, one on each side of the wildest, 
most vicious little horse Hare had ever seen. It reared 
and bucked and kicked, trying to escape from two lassoes. 
In front of the largest store were a number of mustangs 
all standing free, with bridles thrown over their heads and 
trailing on the ground. The loungers leaning against the 
railing and about the doors were lank brown men very like 
Naab's sons. Some wore sheepskin "chaps," some blue 
overalls; all wore boots and spurs, wide soft hats, and in 
their belts, far to the back, hung large Colt's revolvers. 

"We'll buy what you need, just as if you expected to 

20 



WHITE SAGE 

ride the ranges for me to-morrow," said Naab. "The first 
thing we ask a new man is, can he ride ? Next, can he 
shoot?" 

"I could ride before I got so weak. I've never handled 
a revolver, but I can shoot a rifle. Never shot at anything 
except targets, and it seemed to come natural for me to hit 
them." 

"Good. We'll show you some targets — lions, bears, 
deer, cats, wolves. There's a fine forty-four Winchester 
here that my friend Abe has been trying to sell. It has a 
long barrel and weighs eight pounds. Our desert riders 
lik; the light carbines that go easy on a saddle. Most of 
the mustangs aren't weight-carriers. This rifle has a great 
range; I've shot it, and it's just the gun for you to use on 
wolves and coyotes. You'll need a Colt and a saddle, too." 

"By-the-way," he went on, as they mounted the store 
steps, "here's the kind of money we use in this country." 
He handed Hare a slip of blue paper, a written check for a 
sum of money, signed,^ but without register of bank or 
name of firm. "We don't use real money," he added. 
"There's very little coin or currency in southern Utah. 
Most of the Gentiles lately come in have money, and some 
of us Mormons have a bag or two of gold, but scarcely any 
of it gets into circulation. We use these checks, which go 
from man to man sometimes for six months. The round- 
up of a check means sheep, cattle, horses, grain, merchan- 
dise or labor. Every man gets his real money's value 
without paying out an actual cent." 

"Such a system at least means honest men," said Hare, 
laughing his surprise. 

They went into a wide door to tread a maze of narrow 

21 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

aisles between boxes and barrels, stacks of canned vegeta« 
bias, and piles of harness and diy goods; they entered an 
open space where several men leaned on a counter. 

"Hello, Abe," said Naab; "seen anything of Snap?" 

"Hello, August. Yes, Snap's inside. So's Holdemess. 
Says he rode in off the range on purpose to see you." Abe 
designated an open doorway from which issued loud voices. 
Hare glanced into a long narrow room full of smoke and 
the fumes of rum. Through the haze he made out a 
crowd of men at a rude bar. Abe went to the door and 
called out : "Hey, Snap, your dad wants you. Holdemess, 
here's August Naab." 

A man staggered up the few steps leading to the store and 
swayed in. His long face had a hawkish cast, and it was 
gray, not with age, but with the sage-gray of the desert. His 
eyes were of the same hue, cold yet burning with little fiery 
flecks in their depths. He appeared short of stature because 
of a curvature of the spine, but straightened up he would 
have been tall. He wore a blue flannel shirt, and blue over- 
alls; round his lean hips was a belt holding two Colt's revol- 
vers, their heavy, dark butts projecting outward, and he had 
on high boots with long, cruel spurs. 

"Howdy, father?" he said. 

"I'm packing to-day," returned August Naab. "We 
ride out to-morrow. I need your help." 

"All-1 right. When I get my pinto from Larsen." 

"Never mind Larsen. If he got the better of you let 
the matter drop." 

"Jeff got my pinto for a mustang with three legs. If I 
hadn't been drunk I'd never have traded. So I'm look'lng 
for Jeff." 

22 



WHITE SAGE 

He bit out the last words with a peculiar snap of bis long 
teeth, a circumstance which caused Hare instantly to 
associate the savage clicking with the name he had heard 
given this man. August Naab looked at him \,?ith gloomy 
eyes and stern shut mouth, an expression of righteous anger^ 
helplessness and grief combined, the look of a man to whom 
obstacles had been nothing, at last confronted with crowning 
defeat. Hare realized that this son was Naab's first-bom, 
best-loved, a thorn in his side, a black sheep. 

"Say, father, is that the spy you found on the trail?" 
Snap's pale eyes gleamed on Hare and the little flames 
seemed to darken and leap. 

"This is John Hare, the young man I found. But he's 
not a spy." 

"You can't make any one believe that. He's down as a 
spy. Dene's spy! His name's gone over the ranges as a 
counter of unbranded stock. Dene has named him and 
Dene has marked him. Don't take him home, as you've 
taken so many sick and hunted men before. What's the 
good of it ? You never made a Mormon of one of them yet. 
Don't take him — unless you want another grave for your 
cemetery. Ha ! Ha !" 

Hare recoiled with a shock. Snap Naab swayed to the 
door, and stepped down, all the time with his face over his 
shoulder, his baleful glance on Hare; then the blue haze 
swallowed him. 

The several loungers went out; August engaged the 
storekeeper in conversation, introducing Hare and ex- 
plaining their wants. They inspected the various needs 
of a range-rider, selecting, in the end, not the few suggested 
by Hare,"but the many chosen by Naab. The last purchase 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

was the rifle Naab had talked about. It was a beautiful 
weapon, finely polished and carved, entirely out of place 
among the plain coarse-sighted and coarse-stocked guns 
in the rack. 

"Never had a chance to sell it," said Abe. "Too long 
and heavy for the riders. I'll let it go cheap, half price, 
and the cartridges also, two thousand." 

"Taken," replied Naab, quickly, with a satisfaction 
which showed he liked a bargain. 

"August, you must be going to shoot some?" queried 
Abe. "Something bigger than rabbits and coyotes. It's 
about time — even if you- are an Elder. We Mormons 
must — " he broke ofiF, continuing in a low tone: "here's 
Holderness now." 

Hare wheeled with the interest that had gathered with 
the reiteration of this man's name. A new-comer stooped 
to get in the door. He outtopped even Naab in height, 
and was a superb blond-bearded man, striding with the 
spring of a mountaineer. 

"Good-day to you, Naab," he said. "Is this the young 
fellow you picked up ?" 

"Yes. Jack Hare," rejoined Naab. 

"Well, Hare, I'm Holderness. You'll recall my name. 
You were sent to Lund by men interested in my ranges. 
I expected to see you in Lund, but couldn't get over." 

Hare met the proffered hand with his own, and as he had 
recoiled from Snap Naab so now he received another shock, 
different indeed but impelling in its power, instinctive of 
some great portent. Hare was impressed by an indefinable 
subtlety, a nameless distrust, as colorless as the clear pene* 
trating amber lightness of the eyes that bent upon him. 

^ 



WHITE SAGE 

"Holderness, will you right the stoiy about Hare ?" in 
quired Naab. 

"You mean about his being a spy? Well, Naab, the 
truth is that was his job. I advised against sending a man 
down here for that sort of work. It won't do. These 
Mormons will steal each other's cattle, and they've got to 
get rid of them; so they won't have a man taking account 
of stock, brands, and all that. If the Mormons would 
stand for it the rustlers wouldn't. I'll take Hare out to 
the ranch and give him work, if he wants. But he'd do 
best to leave Utah." 

"Thank you, no," replied Hare, decidedly. 

"He's going with me," said August Naab. 

Holderness accepted this with an almost imperceptible 
nod, and he swept Hare with eyes that searched and probed 
for latent possibilities. It was the keen intelligence of a 
man who knew what development meant on the desert; 
not in any sense an interest in the young man at present. 
Then b 3 turned his back. 

Hare, feeling that Holderness wished to talk with Naab, 
walked to the counter, and began assorting his purchases, 
but he could not help hearing what was said. 

"Lungs bad ?" queried Holderness. 

"One of them," replied Naab. 

"He's all in. Better send him out of the country. He's 
got the name of Dene's spy and he'll never get another on 
this desert. Dene will kill him. This isn't good judgment, 
Naab, to take him with you. Even your friends don't like 
it, and it means trouble for you." 

"We've settled it," said Naab, coldly. 

*'Well, remember, I've warned you. I've tried to be 

2S 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

friendly with you, Naab, but you won't have it. Anyway, 
I've wanted to see you lately to find out how we stand. 

"What do you mean ?" 

" How we stand on several things— to begin with, there s 
Mescal." 

"You asked me several times for Mescal, and I said no." 

" But I never said I'd marry her. Now I want her, and I 
will marry her." 

"No," rejoined Naab, adding brevity to his coldness. 

"Why not ?" demanded Holderness. "Oh, well, I can't 
take that as an insult. I know there's not enough money 
in Utah to get a girl away from a Mormon. . . . About 
the oflFer for the water-rights — how do we stand ? I'll give 
you ten thousand dollars for the rights to Seeping Springs 
and Silver Cup." 

"Ten thousand!" ejaculated Naab. "Holderness, I 
wouldn't take a hundred thousand. You might as well 
ask to buy my home, my stock, my range, twenty years of 
toil, for ten thousand dollars!" 

"You refuse ? All right. I think I've made you a fair 
proposition," said Holderness, in a smooth, quick tone. 
"The land is owned by the Government, and though your 
ranges are across the Arizona line they really figure as 
Utah land. My company's spending big money, and the 
Government won't let you have a monopoly. No one 
man can control the water-supply of a hundred miles of 
range. Times are changing. You want to see that. You 
ought to protect yourself before it's too late." 

"Holderness, this is a desert. No men save Mormons 
could ever have made it habitable. The Government 
scarcely knows of its existence. It '11 be fifty years before 

26 



WHITE SAGE 

there's any law here. Listen. This desert belongs to the 
Mormons. We found the springs, dug the ditches. No 
man can come in here to take our water." 

"Why can't he ? The water doesn't belong to any one. 
Why can't he ?" 

"Because of the unwritten law of the desert. No Mor- 
mon would refuse you or your horse a drink, or even a 
reasonable supply for your stock. But you can't come in 
here and take our water for your own use, to supplant us, 
to parch our stock. Why, even an Indian respects desert 
law!" 

"Bah! I'm not a Mormon or an Indian. I'm a cattle- 
man. It's plain business with me. Once more I make you 
the offer." 

Naab scorned to reply. The men faced each other for 
a silent moment, their glances scintillating. Then Holder- 
ness whirled on his heel, jostling into Hare. 

"Get out of my way," said the rancher, in the disgust of 
intense irritation. He swung his arm, and his open hand 
sent Hare reeling against the counter. 

"Jack," said Naab, breathing hard, "Holderness showed 
his real self to-day. I always knew it, yet I gave him the 
benefit of the doubt. . . . For him to strike you! I've 
not the gift of revelation, but I see — let us go." 

On the return to the Bishop's cottage Naab did not speak 
once; the transformation which had begun with the appear- 
ance of his drunken son had reached a climax of gloomy 
silence after the clash ivith Holderness. Naab went directly 
to the Bishop, and presently the quavering voice of the old 
minister rose in prayer. 

Hare dropped wearily into the chair on the porchi 
3 27 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 
I 

and presently fell into a doze, from which he awakened 
with a start. Naab's sons, with Martin Cole and several 
other men, were standing in the yard. Naab himself was 
gently crowding the women into the house. When he got 
them all inside he closed the door and turned to Cole. 
^ "Was it a fair fight?" 

"Yes, an even break. They met in front of Abe's. I 
saw the meeting. Neither was surprised. They stood 
for a moment watching each other. Then they drew — only 
Snap was quicker. Larsen's gun went oflf" as he fell. That 
trick you taught Snap saved his life again. Larsen was no 
slouch on the draw." 

"Where's Snap now ?" 

"Gone after his pinto. He was sober. Said he'd pack 
at once. Larsen's friends are ugly. Snap said to tell you 
to hurry out of the village with young Hare, if you want to 
take him at all. Dene has ridden in; he swears you won't 
take Hare away." 

, "We're all packed and ready to hitch up," returned Naab. 
"We could start at once, only until dark I'd rather take 
chances here than out on the trail." 

"Snap said Dene would ride right into the Bishop's after 
Hare." 

"No. He wouldn't dare." 

"Father!" Dave Naab spoke sharply from where he 
stood high on a grassy bank. "Here's Dene now, riding 
up with Culver, and some man I don't know. They're 
coming in. Dene's jumped the fence! Lookout!" 

A clatter of hoofs and rattling of gravel preceded the 
appearance of a black horse in the garden path. His rider 
bent low to dodge the vines of the arbor, and reined in 

28 



WHITE SAGE 

before the porch to slip out of the saddle with the agility of 
an Indian. It was Dene, dark, smiling, nonchalant. 

"What do you seek in the house of a Bishop ?" challenged 
August Naab, planting his broad bulk square before Hare. 

"Dene's spy!" 

"What do you seek in the house of a Bishop ?" repeated 
Naab. 

"I shore want to see the young feller you lied to me 
about," returned Dene, his smile slowly fading. 

"No speech could be a lie to an outlaw." 

"I want him, you Mormon preacher!" 

"You can't have him." 

"I'll shore get him." 

In one great stride Naab confronted and towered over 
Dene. 

The rustler's gaze shifted warily from Naab to the quiet 
Mormons and back again. Then his right hand quivered 
and shot downward. Naab's act was even quicker. A 
Colt gleamed and whirled to the grass, and the outlaw 
cried out as his arm cracked in the Mormon's grasp. 

Dave Naab leaped off the bank directly in front of Dene's 
approaching companions, and faced them, alert and silent, 
his hand on his hip. 

August Naab swung the outlaw against the porch-post 
and held him there with brawny arm. 

"Whelp of an evil breed!" he thundered, shaking his 
gray head. "Do you think we fear you and your gun- 
sharp tricks? Look! See this!" He released Dene and 
stepped back with his hand before him. Suddenly it moved, 
quicker than sight, and a Colt revolver lay in his out- 
fctretched palm. He dropped it back into the holster. "Let 

29 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

that teach you never to draw on me again." He doubled 
his huge fist and shoved it before Dene's eyes. "One blow 
would crack your skull like an egg-shell. Why don't I deal 
it? Because, you mindless hell-hound, because there's a 
higher law than man's — God's law — Thou shalt not kilU 
Understand that if you can. Leave me and mine alone 
from this day. Now go!" 

He pushed Dene down the path into the arms of his com» 
panions. 

"Out with you!" said Dave Naab. "Hurry! Get your 
horse. Hurry! I'm not so particular about God as Dad 
is!" 



Ill 

THE TRAIL OF THE RED WALL 

AFTER the departure of Dene and his comrades Naab 
decided to leave White Sage at nightfall. Martin 
Cole and the Bishop's sons tried to persuade him to 
remain, urging that the trouble sure to come could be more 
safely met in the village. Naab, however, was obdurate, 
unreasonably so. Cole said, unless there were some good 
reason why he wished to strike the trail in the night. When 
twilight closed in Naab -had his teams ready and the 
women shut in the canvas-covered wagons. Hare was to 
ride in an open wagon, one that Naab had left at White 
Sage to be loaded with grain. When it grew so dark that 
objects were scarcely discernible a man vaulted the cottage 
fence. 

"Dave, where are the boys ?" asked Naab. 

"TMot so loud! The boys are coming," replied Dave in a 
whisper. "Dene is wild. I guess you snapped a bone in 
his arm. He swears he'll kill us all. But Chance and the 
rest of the gang won't be in till late. We've time to reach 
the Coconina Trail, if we hustle." 

"Any news of Snap ?" 

"He rode out before sundown." 

Three more forms emerged from the gloom. 

"All right, boys. Go ahead, Dave, you lead," 
31 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Dave and George Naab mounted their mustangs and rode 
through the gate; the first wagon rolled after them, its white 
dome gradually dissolving in the darkness; the second one 
started; then August Naab stepped to his seat on the third 
with a low cluck to the team. Hare shut the gate and 
climbed over the tail-board of the wagon. 

A slight swish of weeds and grasses brushing the wheels 
was all the sound made in the cautious advance. A bare 
field lay to the left; to the right low roofs and sharp chim- 
neys showed among the trees; here and there lights twinkled. 
No one hailed; not a dog barked. 

Presently the leaders turned into a road where the iron 
hoofs and wheels cracked and crunched the stones. 

Hare thought he saw something in the deep shade of a 
line of poplar-trees; he peered closer, and made out a motion- 
less horse and rider, just a shade blacker than the deepest 
gloom. The next instant they vanished, and the rapid 
clatter of hoofs down the road told Hare his eyes had not 
■deceived him. 

"Getup," growled Naab to his horses. "Jack, did you 
see that fellow ?" 

"Yes. What was he doing there ?" 

"Watching the road. He's one of Dene's scouts." 

"Will Dene—" 

One of Naab's sons came trotting back. "Think that 
was Larsen's pal. He was lapng in wait for Snap." 

''I thought he was a scout for Dene," replied August. 

"Maybe he's that too." 

"Likely enough. Hurry along and keep the gray team 
going lively. They've had a week's rest." 

Hare watched the glimmering lights of the village vanish 
32 



THE TRAIL OF THE RED WALL 

one by one, like Jack-o'-lanterns. The horses kept a steady, 
even trot on into the huge windy hall of the desert night. 
Fleecy clouds veiled the stars, yet transmitted a wan glow. 
A chill crept over Hare. As he crawled under the blankets 
Naab had spread for him his hand came into contact with a 
polished metal surface cold as ice. It was his rifle. Naab 
had placed it under the blankets. Fingering the rifle Hare 
found the spring opening on the right side of the breech, 
and, pressing it down, he felt the round head of a cartridge. 
Naab had loaded the weapon, he had placed it where Hare's 
hand must find it, yet he had not spoken of it. Hare did 
not stop to reason with his first impulse. Without a word, 
with silent insistence, disregarding his shattered health, 
August Naab had given him a man's part to play. The full 
meaning lifted Hare out of his self-abasement; once more 
he felt himself a man. 

Hare soon yielded to the warmth of the blankets; a 
drowsiness that he endeavored in vain to throw ofFsmothered 
his thoughts; sleep glued his eyelids tight. They opened 
again some hours later. For a moment he could not realize 
where he was; then the whip of the cold wind across his 
face, the woolly feel and smell of the blankets, and finally 
the steady trot of horses and the clink of a chain swinging 
somewhere under him, recalled the actuality of the night 
I ride. He wondered how many miles had been covered, 
how the drivers knew the direction and kept the horses in 
the trail, and whether the outlaws were in pursuit. When 
Naab stopped the team and, climbing down, walked back 
some rods to listen. Hare felt sure that Dene was coming. 
He listened, too, but the movements of the horses and the 
rattle of their harness were all the sounds he could hear. 

33 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Naab returned to his seat; the team started, now no longer 
in a trot; they were climbing. After that Hare fell into a 
slumber in which he could hear the slow grating whirr of 
wheels, and when it ceased he awoke to raise himself and 
turn his ear to the back trail. By-and-by he discovered 
that the black night had changed to gray; dawn was not 
far distant; he dozed and awakened to clear light. A rose- 
red horizon lay far below and to the eastward; the inter- 
vening descent was like a rolling sea with league-long 
swells. 

"Glad youslept some," was Naab's greeting. "No sign of 
Dene yet. If we can get over the divide we're safe. That's 
Coconina there, Fire Mountain in Navajo meaning. It's 
a plateau low and narrow at this end, but it runs far to the 
east and rises nine thousand feet. It forms a hundred miles 
of the north rim of the Grand Caiion. We're across the 
Arizona line now." 

Hare followed the sweep of the ridge that rose to the 
eastward, but to his inexperienced eyes its appearance carried 
no sense of its noble proportions., 

"Don't' form any ideas of distance and size yet a while," 
said Naab, reading Hare's expression. "They'd only have 
to be made over as soon as you learn what light and air are 
in this country. It looks only half a mile to the top of the 
divide; well, if we make it by midday we're lucky. There, 
see a black spot over this way, far under the red wall ? 
Look sharp. Good! That's Holderness's ranch. It's 
thirty miles from here. Nine Mile Valley heads in there. 
Once it belonged to Martin Cole. Holderness stole it. 
And he's begun to range over the divide." 

The sun rose and warmed the chill air. Hare began to 
34 



THE TRAIL OF THE RED WALL 

notice the increased height and abundance of the sage- 
brush, which was darker in color. The first cedar-tree, 
stunted in growth, dead at the top, was the half-way 
mark up the ascent, so Naab said; it was also the fore- 
runner of other cedars which increased in number toward 
the summit. At length Hare, tired of looking upward at 
the creeping white wagons, closed his eyes. The wheels 
crunched on the stones; the horses heaved and labored; 
Naab's "Getup" was the only spoken sound; the sun 
beamed down warm, then hot; and the hours passed. 
Some unusual noise roused Hare out of his lethargy. The 
wagon was at a standstill. Naab stood on the seat with 
outstretched arm. George and Dave were close by their 
mustangs, and Snap Naab, mounted on a cream-colored 
pinto, reined him under August's arm, and faced the valley 
below. 

"Maybe you'll make them out," said August. "I can^, 
and I've watched those dust -clouds for hours. George 
can't decide, either." 

Hare, looking at Snap, was attracted by the eyes from 
which his father and brothers expected so much. If ever 
a human being had the eyes of a hawk Snap Naab had them. 
The little brown flecks danced in clear pale yellow. Evi- 
dently Snap had not located the perplexing dust-clouds, for 
his glance drifted. Suddenly the remarkable vibration of 
his pupils ceased, and his glance grew fixed, steely, certain. 

"That's a bunch of wild mustangs," he said. 

Hare gazed till his eyes hurt, but could see neither clouds 
of dust nor moving objects. No more was said. The sons 
wheeled their mustangs and rode to the fore; August Naab 
reseated hinlself and took up the reins; the ascent proceeded. 

35 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

But it proceeded leisurely, with more frequent rests. At 
the end of an hour the horses toiled over the last rise to the 
summit and entered a level forest of cedars; in another hour 
they were descending gradually. 

"Here we are at the tanks," said Naab. 

Hare saw that they had come up with the other wagons. 
George Naab was leading a team down a rocky declivity 
to a pool of yellow water. The other boys were unharness- 
ing and unsaddling. 

"About three," said Naab, looking at the sun. "We're 
in good time. Jack, get out and stretch yourself. We 
camp here. There's the Coconina Trail where the Navajos 
go in after deer." 

It was not a pretty spot, this little rock-strewn glade where 
the white hard trail forked with the road. The yellow 
water with its green scum made Hare sick. The horses 
drank with loud gulps. Naab and his sons drank of it. 
The women filled a pail and portioned it out in basins and 
washed their faces and hands with evident pleasure. Dave 
Naab whistled as he wielded an axe vigorously on a cedar. 
It came home to Hare that the tension of the past night 
and morning had relaxed. Whether to attribute that fact 
to the distance from White Sage or to the arrival at the 
water-hole he could not determine. But the certainty was 
shown in August's cheerful talk to the horses as he 
slipped bags of grain over their noses, and in the subdued 
laughter of the women. Hare sent up an unspoken thanks- 
giving that these good Mormons had apparently escaped 
from the dangers incurred for his sake. He sat with 
his back to a cedar and watched the kindling of fires, 
the deft manipulating of biscuit dough in a basin, and the 

36 



THE TRAIL OF THE RED WALL 

steaming of pots. The generous meal was spread on a can- 
vas cloth, around which men and women sat cross-legged, 
after the fashion of Indians. Hare found it hard to adapt 
his long legs to the posture, and he wondered how these 
men, whose legs were longer than his, could sit so easily. 
It was the crown of a cheerful dinner after hours of anxiety 
and abstinence to have Snap Naab speak civilly to him, and 
to see him bow his head meekly as his father asked the 
blessing. Snap ate as though he had utterly forgotten that 
he had recently killed a man; to hear the others talk to him 
one would suppose that they had forgotten it also. 

All had finished eating, except Snap and Dave Naab, 
when one of the mustangs neighed shrilly. Hare would not 
have noticed it but for looks exchanged among the men. 
The glances were explained a few minutes later when a 
pattering of hoofs came from the cedar forest, and a stream 
of mounted Indians poured into the glade. 

The ugly glade became a place of color and action. The 
Navajos rode wiry, wild-looking mustangs and drove ponies 
and burros carrying packs, most of which consisted of 
deer-hides. Each Indian dismounted, and unstrapping the 
blanket which had served as a saddle headed his mustang for 
the water-hole and gave him a slap. Then the hides and 
packs were slipped from the pack-train, and soon the pool 
became a kicking, splashing melee. Every cedar -tree 
circling the glade and every branch served as a peg for deer- • 
meat. Some of it was in the haunch, the bulk in dark dried 
strips. The Indians laid their weapons aside. Every sage- 
bush and low stone held a blanket. A few of these blankets 
were of solid color, most of them had bars of white and gray 
and red, the last color predominating. The mustangs and 

37 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

burros filed out among the cedars, nipping at the sage and 
the scattered tufts of spare grass. A group of fires, sending 
up curling columns of blue smoke, and surrounded by a 
circle of lean, half-naked, bronze-skinned Indians, cooking 
and eating, completed a picture which afforded Hare the 
satisfying fulfilment of boyish dreams. What a contrast to 
the memory of a camp-site on the Connecticut shore, with 
boy friends telling tales in the glow of the fire, and the wash 
of the waves on the beach! 

The sun sank low in the west, sending gleams through 
the gnarled branches of the cedars, and turning the green 
into gold. At precisely the moment of sunset, the Mormon 
women broke into soft song which had the element of prayer; 
and the lips of the men moved in silent harmony. Dave 
Naab, the only one who smoked, removed his pipe for the 
moment's grace to dying day. 

This simple ceremony over, one of the boys put wood on 
the fire, and Snap took a jews'-harp out of his pocket and 
began to extract doleful discords from it, for which George 
kicked at him in disgust, finally causing him to leave the 
circle and repair to the cedars, where he twanged with 
supreme egotism, 

"Jack," said August Naab, "our friends the Navajo 
chiefs, Scarbreast and Eschtah, are coming to visit us. 
Take no notice of them at first. They've great dignity, 
and if you entered their hogans they'd sit for some moments 
before appearing to see you. Scarbreast is a war-chief. 
Eschtah is the wise old chief of all the Navajos on the 
Painted Desert. It may interest you to know he is Mescal's 
grandfather. Some day I'll tell you the story." 

Hare tried very hard to appear unconscious when two 

38 



THE TRAIL OF THE RED WALL 

tall Indians stalked into the circle of Mormons; he set his 
eyes on the white heart of the camp-fire and waited. For 
several minutes no one spoke or even moved. The Indians 
remained standing for a time; then seated themselves. 
Presently August Naab greeted them in the Navajo lan< 
guage. This was a signal for Hare to use his eyes and ears. 
Another interval of silence followed before they began to 
talk. Hare could see only their blanketed shoulders and 
black heads. 

"Jack, come round here," said Naab at length. "I've 
been telling them about you. These Indians do not like 
the whites, except my own family. I hope you'll make 
friends with them." 

"Howdo?" said the chief whom Naab had called Eschtah, 
a stately, keen-eyed warrior, despite his age. 

The next Navajo greeted him with a guttural word. This 
was a warrior whose name might well have been Scarface, for 
the signs of conflict were there. It was a face like a bronze 
mask, cast in the one expression of untamed desert fierceness. 

Hare bowed to each and felt himself searched by burning 
eyes, which were doubtful, yet not unfriendly. 

"Shake," finally said Eschtah, offering his hand. 

"Ugh!" exclaimed Scarbreast, extending a bare silver- 
braceleted arm. 

This sign of friendship pleased Naab. He wished tc 
enlist the sympathies of the Navajo chieftains in the young 
man's behalf. In his ensuing speech, which was plentifully 
emphasized with gestures, he lapsed often into English, say- 
ing "weak— no strong" when he placed his hand on Hare's 
legs, and "bad" when he touched the young man's chest, 
concluding with the words "sick — sick." 

39 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Scarbreast regarded Hare with great earnestness, and 
when Naab had finished he said: "Chineago — ping!" and 
rubbed his hand over his stomach. 

"He says you need meat — lots of deer-meat," translated 
Naab. 

"Sick," repeated Eschtah, whose English was intelligible. 
He appeared to be casting about in his mind for additional 
words to express his knowledge of the white man's tongue, 
and, failing, continued in Navajo: "Tohodena — moocha 
— malocha." 

Hare was nonplussed at the roar of laughter from the 
Mormons. August shook like a mountain in an earthquake. 

"Eschtah says, 'you hurty, get many squaws — many 
wives.*" 

Other Indians, russet-skinned warriors, with black hair 
held close by bands round their foreheads, joined the circle, 
and sitting before the fire clasped their knees and talked. 
Hare listened awhile, and then, being fatigue(l, he sought 
the cedar-tree where he had left his blankets. The dry mat 
of needles made an odorous bed. He placed a sack of grain 
for a pillow, and doubling up one blanket to lie upon, he 
pulled the others over him. Then he watched and listened. 
The cedar-wood burned with a clear flame, and occasion- 
ally snapped out a red spark. The voices of the Navajos, 
scarcely audible, sounded "toa's" and taa's" — syllables he 
soon learned were characteristic and dominant — in low, deep 
murmurs. It reminded Hare of something that before had 
been pleasant to his ear. Then it came to mind : a remem- 
brance of Mescal's sweet voice, and that recalled the kin- 
ship between her and the Navajo chieftaiii. He looked 
about, endeavoring to find her in the ring of light, for he 

40 



THE TRAIL OF THE RED WALL 

felt in her a fascination akin to the charm of this twilight 
hour. Dusky forms passed to and fro under the trees; 
the tinkle pf bells on hobbled mustangs rang from the 
forest; coyotes had begun their night quest with wild 
howls; the camp-fire burned red, and shadows flickered on 
the blanketed Indians; the wind now moaned, now lulled 
in the cedars. 

Hare lay back in his blankets and saw lustrous stars 
through the network of branches. With their light in his 
face and the cold wind waving his hair on his brow he 
thought of the strangeness of it all, of its remoteness from 
anything ever known to him before, of its inexpressible 
wildness. And a rush of emotion he failed wholly to stifle 
proved to him that he could have loved this life if— if he had 
not of late come to believe that he had not long to live. 
Still Naab's influence exorcised even that one sad thought; 
and he flung it from him in resentment. 

Sleep did not come so readily; he was not very well this 
night; the flush of fever was on his cheek, and the heat of 
feverish blood burned his body. He raised himself and, 
resolutely seeking for distraction, once more stared at the 
camp-fire. Some time must have passed during his dream- 
ing, for only three persons were in sight. Naab's broad 
back was bowed and his head nodded. Across the fire 
m its ruddy flicker sat Eschtah beside a slight, dark figure. 
At second glance Hare recognized Mescal. Surprise claimed 
him, not more for her presence there than for the white band 
binding her smooth black tresses. She had not worn such 
an ornament before. That slender band lent her the one 
touch which made her a Navajo. Was it worn in respect to 
her aged grandfather ? What did this mean for a girl reared 

41 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

with Christian teaching ? Was it desert blood ? Hare had no 
answers for these questions. They only increased the mys- 
tery and romance. He fell asleep with the picture in his 
mind of Eschtah and Mescal, sitting in the glow of the fire, 
and of August Naab, nodding silently. 

"Jack, Jack, wake up." The words broke dully into 
his slumbers; wearily he opened his eyes. August Naab 
bent over him, shaking him gently. 

"Not so well this morning, eh ? Here's a cup of coffee. 
We're all packed and starting. Drink now, and climb 
aboard. We expect to make Seeping Springs to-night." 

Hare rose presently and, laboring into the wagon, lay 
down on the sacks. He had one of his blind, sickening 
headaches. The familiar lumbering of wheels began, and 
the clanking of the wagon-chain. Despite jar and jolt he 
dozed at times, awakening to the scrape of the wheel on the 
leathern brake. After a while the rapid descent of the 
wagon changed to a roll, without the irritating rattle. He 
saw a narrow valley; on one side the green, slow-swelling 
cedar slope of the mountain; on the other the perpendicular 
red wall, with its pinnacles like spears against the sky. 
All day this backward outlook was the same, except that 
each time he opened aching eyes the valley had lengthened, 
the red wall and green slope had come closer together in the 
distance. By and by there came a halt, the din of stamping 
horses and sharp commands, the bustle and confusion of 
camp. Naab spoke kindly to him, but he refused any food, 
lay still and went to sleep. 

Daylight brought him the relief of a clear head and cooled 
blood. The camp had been pitched close under the red 
wall. A lichen-covered cliff, wet with dripping water, 

42 



THE TRAIL OF THE RED WALL 

•overhung a round pool. A ditch led the water down the 
ridge to a pond. Cattle stood up to their knees drinking; 
others lay on the yellow clay, which was packed as hard as 
stone; still others were climbing the ridge and passing 
down on both sides. 

"You look as if you enjoyed that water," remarked Naab, 
when Hare presented himself at the fire. "Well, it's good, 
only a little salty. Seeping Springs this is, and it's mine. 
This ridge we call The Saddle; you see it dips between wall 
pnd mountain and separates two valleys. This valley we 
go through to-day is where my cattle range. At the other 
end is Silver Cup Spring, also mine. Keep your eyes open 
now, my lad." 

How different was the beginning of this day! The sky 
was as blue as the sea; the valley snuggled deep in the 
embrace of wall and mountain. Hare took a place on the 
seat beside Naab and faced the descent. The line of Nava- 
jos, a graceful straggling curve of color on the trail, led the 
way for the white-domed wagons. 

Naab pointed to a little calf lying half hidden under a 
bunch of sage. "That's what I hate to see. There's a 
calf, just born; its mother has gone in for water. Wolves 
and lions range this valley. We lose hundreds of calves 
that way." 

As far as Hare could see red and white and black cattle 
speckled the valley. 

"If not overstocked, this range is the best in Utah," said 
Naab. "I say Utah, but it's really Arizona. The Grand 
Canon seems to us Mormons to mark the line. There's 
enough browse here to feed a hundred thousand cattle. 
But water's the thing. In some seasons the springs go 
4 43 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

almost dry, though Silver Cup holds her own well enough 
for my cattle." 

Hare marked the tufts of grass lying far apart on the 
yellow earth; evidently there was sustenance enough in 
every two feet of ground to support only one tuft. 

"What's that?" he asked, noting a rolling cloud of dust 
with black bobbing borders. 

"Wild mustangs," repUed Naab. "There are perhaps 
five thousand on the mountain, and they are getting to be a 
nuisance. They're almost as bad as sheep on the browse: 
and I should tell you that if sheep pass over a range once 
the cattle will starve. The mustangs are getting too plenti- 
ful. There are also several bands of wild horses." 

"What's the difference between wild horses and mus- 
tangs ?" 

"I haven't figured that out yet. Some say the Spaniards 
left horses in here three hundred years ago. Wild ? They 
are wilder than any naturally wild animal that ever ran on 
four legs. Wait till you get a look at Silvermane or White- 
foot." 

"What are they?" 

"Wild stallions. Silvermane is an iron gray, with a silver 
mane, the most beautiful horse I ever saw. Whitefoot's an 
old black shaggy demon, with one white foot. Both stal- 
lions ought to be killed. They fight my horses and lead off 
the mares. I had a chance to shoot Silvermane on the way 
over this trip, but he looked so splendid that I just laid down 
my rifle." 

"Can they run ?" asked Hare eagerly, vrith the eyes of a 
man who loved a horse. 

"Run? Whew! Just you wait till you see Silvermane 

44 



THE TRAlt OF THE RED WALL 

cover ground! He can look ovej- his shoulder at you and 
beat any horse in this country. The Navajos have given 
up catching him as a bad job. Why — here! Jack! quick, 
get out your rifle — coyotes!" 

Naab pulled on the reins, and pointed to one side. Hare 
discerned three grayish sharp-nosed beasts sneaking off in 
the sage, and he reached back for the rifle. Naab whistled, 
stopping the coyotes; then Hare shot. The ball cut a 
wisp of dust above and beyond them. They loped away 
into the sage. 

"How that rifle spangs!" exclaimed Naab. "It's good to 
hear it. Jack, you shot high. That's the trouble with men 
who have never shot at g«me. They can't hold low enough. 
Aim low, lower than you want. Ha! There's another — 
chis side — ^hold ahead of him and low, quick! — too high 
again." 

It was in this way that August and Hare fell far behind 
the other wagons. The nearer Naab got to his home the 
more genial he became. When he was not answering 
Hare's queries he was giving information of his own accord, 
telling about the cattle and the range, the mustangs, the 
Navajos, and the desert Naab liked to talk; he had said 
he had not the gift of revelation, but he certainly had the 
gift of tongues. 

The sun was in the west when they began to climb a 
ridge. A short ascent, and a long turn to the right brought 
them under a bold spur of the mountain which shut out the 
northwest. Camp had been pitched in a grove of trees of a 
species new to Hare. From under a bowlder gushed the 
sparkling spring, a grateful sight and sound to desert travel- 
lers. In a niche of the rock hung a silver cup. 

45 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"Jack, no man knows how old this cup is, or anything 
about it. We named the spring after it — Silver Cup. The 
strange thing is that the cup has never been lost nor stolen. 
But — could any desert man, or outlaw or Indian, take it 
away, after drinking here ?" 

The cup was nicked and battered, bright on the sides, 
moss-green on the bottom. When Hare drank from it he 
understood. 

That evening there was rude merriment around the camp- 
fire. Snap Naab buzzed on his jews'-harp and sang. He 
stirred some of the younger braves to dancing, and they 
stamped and swung their arms, singing, "hoya-heeya- 
howya," as they moved in and ou<- of the firelight. 

Several of the braves showed great interest in Snap's 
jews'-harp and repeatedly asked him for it. FinaHy the 
Mormon grudgingly lent it to a curious Indian, who in trying 
to play it went through such awkward motions and made 
such queer sounds that his companions set upon him and 
fought for possession of the instrument. Then Snap, be- 
coming solicitous for its welfare, jumped into the fray. 
They tussled for it amid the clamor of a delighted circle. 
Snap, passing from jest to earnest, grew so strenuous in his 
eflForts to regain the harp that he tossed the Navajos about 
like shuttle-cocks. He got the harp and, concealing it, 
sought to break away. But the braves laid hold upon 
him, threw him to the ground, and calmly sat astride 
him while they went through his pockets. August Naab 
roared his merriment and Hare laughed till he cried. The 
incident was as surprising to him as it was amusing. These 
serious Mormons and silent Navajos were capable of mirth. 

Hare would have stayed up as late as any of them, but 

46 



THE TRAIL OF THE RED WALL 

August's saying to him, "Get to bed: to-morrow will be 
bad!" sent him off to his blankets, where he was soon fast 
asleep. Morning found him well, hungry, eager to know 
what the day would bring. 

"Wait," said August, soberly. 

They rode out of the gray pocket in the ridge and 
began to climb. Hare had not noticed the rise till they 
were started, and then, as the horses climbed steadily he 
grew impatient at the monotonous ascent. There was 
nothing to see; frequently it seemed that they were soon to 
reach the summit, but still it rose above them. Hare went 
back to his comfortable place on the sacks. 

"Now, Jack," said August. 

Hare gasped. He saw a red world. His eyes seemed 
bathed in blood. Red scaly ground, bare of vegetation, 
sloped down, down, far down to a vast irregular rent in the 
earth, which zigzagged through the plain beneath. To the 
right it bent its crooked way under the brow of a black- 
timbered plateau; to the left it straightened its angles to 
find a V-shaped vent in the wall, now uplifted to a moun- 
tain range. Beyond this earth-riven line lay something vast 
and illimitable, a far-reaching vision of white wastes, of 
purple plains, of low mesas lost in distance. It was the 
shimmering dust-veiled desert. 

"Here we come to the real thing," explained Naab. 
^'This is Windy Slope; that black line is the Grand Canon 
of Arizona; on the other side is the Painted Desert where 
the Navajos live; Coconina Mountain shows his flat head 
there to the right, and the wall on our left rises to the Ver- 
million Cliffs. Now, look while you can, for presently 
you'll not be able to see." 

47 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"Why?" 

"Wind, sand, dust, gravel, pebbles — ^watch out for your 
eyes !" 

I Naab had not ceased speaking when Hare saw that the 
train of Indians trailing down the slope was enveloped in 
red clouds. Then the white wagons disappeared. Soon he 
was struck in the back by a gust which justified Naab's 
warning. It swept by; the air grew clear again; once more 
he could see. But presently a puff, taking him unawares, 
filled his eyes with dust difficult of removal. Whereupon 
he turned his back to the wind. 

The afternoon grew apace; the sun glistened on the white 
patches of Coconina Mountain; it set; and the wind died. 

"Five miles of red sand," said Naab. "Here's what kills 
the horses. Getup." 

There was no trail. All before was red sand, hollows, 
slopes, levels, dunes, in which the horses sank above their 
fetlocks. The wheels ploughed deep, and little red streams 
trailed down from the tires. Naab trudged on foot with 
the reins in his hands. Hare essayed to walk also, soon 
tired, and floundered behind till Naab ordered him to ride 
again. Twilight came with the horses still toiling. 

"There! thankful I am when we get off that strip! But, 
Jack, that trailless waste prevents a night raid on my home. 
Even the Navajos shun it after dark. We'll be home soc«. 
There's my sign. See ? Night or day we call it the Blue 
Star." 

High in the black cliff a star-shaped, wind-worn hole let 
the blue sky through. 

There was cheer in Naab's "Getup," now, and the horses 
quickened with it. Their irrn-shod hoofs struck fire from 

48 



THE TRAIL OF THE RED WALL 

the rocky road. "Easy, easy — soho!" cried Naab to his 
steeds. In the pitchy blackness under the shelving chff 
they picked their way cautiously, and turned a corner. 
Lights twinkled in Hare's sight, a fresh breeze, coming from 
water, dampened his cheek, and a hollow rumble, a long 
roll as of distant thunder, filled his ears. 
. "What's that ?" he asked. 

"That, my lad, is what I always love to hear. It means 
I'm home. It's the roar of the Colorado as she takes her 
first plunge into the Canon." 



IV 

THE OASIS 

AUGUST NAAB'S oasis was an oval valley, level as a 
. floor, green with leaf and white with blossom, enclosed 
by a circle of colossal cliffs of vivid vermilion hue. At its 
western curve the Colorado River split the red walls from 
north to south. When the wind was west a sullen roar, re- 
mote as of some far-off driving mill, filled the valley; when 
it was east a dreamy hollow hum, a somnolent song, mur- 
mured through the cottonwoods; when no win4 stirred, 
silence reigned, a silence not of serene plain or mountain 
fastness, but shut in, compressed, strange, and breathless. 
Safe from the storms of the elements as well as of the world 
was this Garden of Eschtah. 

Naab had put Hare to bed on the unroofed porch of a log 
house, but routed him out early, and when Hare lifted the 
blankets a shower of cotton-blossoms drifted away like 
snow. A grove of gray-barked trees spread green canopy 
overhead, and through the intricate web shone crimson 
trails, soaring with resistless onsweep up and up to shut out 
all but a blue lake of sky. 

"I want you to see the Navajos cross the river," said 
N^aab. 

Hare accompanied him out through the grove to a road 

50 



THE OASIS 

that flanked the first rise of the red wall; they followed this 
for half a mile, and turning a corner- came into an unob- 
structed view. A roar of rushing waters had prepared Hare, 
but the river that he saw appalled him. It was red and 
swift; it slid onward like an enormous slippery snake; 
its constricted head raised a crest of leaping waves, and 
disappeared in a dark chasm, whence came a bellow and 
boom. 

"That opening where she jumps off is the head of the 
Grand Canon," said Naab. "It's five hundred feet deep 
there, and thirty miles below it's five thousand. Oh, once 
in, she tears in a hurry! Come, we turn up the bank here." 

Hare could find no speech, and he felt immeasurably 
small. All that he had seen in reaching this isolated spot was 
dwarfed in comparison. This "Crossing of the Fathers," as 
Naab called it, was the gateway of the desert. This roar of 
turbulent waters was the sinister monotone of the mighty 
desert symphony of gieat depths, great heights, great 
reaches. 

On a sandy strip of bank the Navajos had halted. This 
was as far as they could go, for above the wall jutted out into 
the river. From here the head of the Caiion was not 
visible, and the roar of the rapids was accordingly lessened 
in volume. But even in this smooth water the river spoke 
a warning. 

"The Navajos go in here and swim their mustangs across 
to that sand bar," explained Naab. "The current helps 
when she's high, and there's a three-foot raise on now." 

"I can't believe it possible. What danger they must run 
—those little mustangs!" exclaimed Hare. 

"Danger? Yes, I suppose so," replied Naab, as if it 

51 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

were a new idea. "My lad, the Mormons crossed here by 
the hundreds. Many were drowned. This trail and cross- 
ing were unknown except to Indians before the Mormon 
exodus." 

The mustangs had to be driven into the water. Scar- 
breast led, and his mustang, after many kicks and reluctant 
steps, went over his depth, wetting the stalwart chief to the 
waist. Bare-legged Indians waded in and urged their pack- 
ponies. Shouts, shrill cries, blows mingled with snorts and 
splashes. 

Dave and George Naab in flat boats rowed slowly on the 
down-stream side of the Indians. Presently all the mus- 
tangs and ponies were in, the procession widening out in a 
triangle from Scarbreast, the leader. The pack -ponies 
appeared to swim better than the mounted mustangs, or 
else the packs of deer- pelts made them more buoyant. 
When one-third way across the head of the swimming train 
met the current, and the line of progress broke. Mustang 
after mustang swept down with a rapidity which showed the 
power of the current. Yet they swam steadily with flanks 
shining, tails sometimes afloat, sometimes under, noses up, 
and riders holding weapons aloft. But the pack-ponies 
labored when the current struck them, and whirling about, 
they held back the Indians who were leading them, and 
blocked those behind. The orderly procession of the start 
became a broken line, and then a rout. Here and there a 
Navajo slipped into the water and swam, leading his mus- 
tang; others pulled on pack-ponies and beat their mounts; 
strong-swimming mustangs forged ahead; weak ones hung 
back, and all obeyed the downvrard will of the current. 

While Hare feared for the lives of some of the Navajos, 

52 



THE OASIS 

and pitied the laden ponies, he could not but revel in the 
scene, in its vivid action and varying color, in the cries and 
shrill whoops of the Indians, and the snorts of the frightened 
mustangs, in Naab's hoarse yells to his sons, and the ever- 
present menacing roar from around the bend. The wild- 
ness of it all, the necessity of peril and calm acceptance of it, 
stirred within Hare the call, the awakening, the spirit of 
the desert, 

August Naab's stentorian voice rolled out over the river. 
"Ho! Dave — the yellow pinto — pull him loose — George, 
back this way — there's a pack slipping — down now, down- 
stream, turn that straggler in — Dave, in that tangle^ 
quick! There's a boy drowning — ^his foot's caught — he's 
been kicked — Hurry! Hurry! — pull him in the boat — 
There's a pony under — Too late, George, let that one go^ 
let him go, I tell you!" 

So the crossing of the Navajos proceeded, never an in- 
stant free from danger in that churning current. The 
mustangs and ponies floundered somewhat on the sand-bar, 
and then parted the willows and appeared on a trail skirting 
the red wall. Dave Naab moored his boat on that side of 
the river, and returned with George. 

"We'll look over my farm," said August, as they retraced 
their steps. He led Hare through fields of alfalfa, in all 
stages of growth, explaining that it yielded six crops a year. 
Into one ten-acre lot pigs and cows had been turned to feed 
at will. Everywhere the ground was soggy; little streams 
of water trickled down ditches. Next to the fields was an 
orchard, where cherries were ripe, apricots already large, 
plum-trees shedding their blossoms, and apple-trees just 
opening into bloom, Naab explained that the products 

53 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

b! /lis oasis were abnormal; the ground was exceedingly 
rich and could be kept always wet; the reflection of the sun 
from the walls robbed even winter of* any rigor, and the 
spring, summer, and autumn were tropical. He pointed to 
grape-vines as large as a man's thigh and told of bunches of 
grapes four feet long; he showed sprouting plants on which 
watermelons and pumpkins would grow so large that one 
man could not lift them; he told of one pumpkin that held 
a record of taking two men to roll it. 

"I can raise any kind of fruit in such abundance that it 
can't be used. My garden is prodigal. But we get little 
benefit, except for our own use, for we cannot transport 
things across the desert." 

The water which was the prime factor in all this richness 
came from a small stream which Naab, by making a dam 
and tunnelling a corner of cliff, had diverted from its natural 
course into his oasis. 

Between the fence and the red wall there was a wide 
bare plain which stretched to the house. At its farthest 
end was a green enclosure, which Hare recognized as 
the cemetery mentioned by Snap. Hare counted thirty 
graves, a few with crude monuments of stone, the others 
marked by wooden head-pieces. 

"I've the reputation of doctoring the women, and letting 
the men die," said Naab, with a smile. "I hardly think it's 
fair. But the fact is no women are buried here. Some 
graves are of men I fished out of the river; others of those 
who drifted here, and who were killed or died keeping their 
secrets. I've numbered those unknown graves and have 
kept a description of the men, so, if the chance ever 
comes, I may tell some one where a father or brother lies 

54 



THE OASIS 

buried. Five sons of mine, not one of whom died a natural 
death, found graves here — God rest them! Here's the 
grave of Mescal's father, a Spaniard. He was an advent- 
urer. I helped him over in Nevada when he was ill; he 
came here with me, got well, and lived nine years, and he 
died without speaking one word of himself or telling his 
name." 

>• "What strange ends men come to!" mused Hare. Well, 
a grave was a grave, wherever it lay. He wondered if he 
would come to rest in that quiet nook, with its steady light, 
its simple dignity of bare plain graves fitting the brevity of 
life, the littleness of man. 

"We break wild mustangs along this stretch," said Naab, 
drawing Hare away. "It's a fine run. Wait till you see 
Mescal on Black Bolly tearing up the dust! She's a Navajo 
for riding." 

Three huge corrals filled a wide curved space in the 
wall. In one corral were the teams that had hauled the 
wagons from White Sage; in another upward of thirty 
burros, drooping, lazy little fellows half asleep; in the third 
a dozen or more mustangs and some horses which de- 
lighted Hare. Snap Naab's cream pinto, a bay, and a 
giant horse of mottled white attracted him most. 

"Our best stock is out on the range," said Naab. "The 
white is Charger, my saddle-horse. When he was a yearling 
he got away and ran wild for three years. But we caught 
him. He's a weight-carrier and he can run some. You're 
fond of a horse — I can see that." 

"Yes," returned Hare, "but I — I'll never ride again." 
He said it brightly, smiling the while; still the look in his 
eyes belied the cheerful resignation. 

55 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"I've not the gift of revelation, yet I seem to see you on 
a big gray horse vpith a shining mane." Naab appeared to 
be gazing far away. 

The Cottonwood grove, at the western curve of the oasis, 
shaded the five log huts where August's grown sons lived 
with their wives, and his own cabin, which was of consider- 
able dimensions. It had a covered porch on one side, an 
open one on the other, a shingle roof, and was a roomy 
and comfortable habitation. v 

Naab was pointing out the school-house when he yas 
interrupted by childish laughter, shrieks of glee, and the 
rush of little feet. 

"It's recess-time," he said. 

A frantic crowd of tousled-headed little ones were running 
from the log school-house to form a circle under the trees. 
There were fourteen of them, from four years of age up to 
ten or twelve. Such sturdy, glad-eyed children Hare had 
never seen. In a few moments, as though their happy 
screams were signals, the shady circle was filled with hounds, 
and a string of puppies stepping on their long ears, and 
ruffling turkey-gobblers, that gobbled and gobbled, and 
guinea-hens with their shrill cries, and cackling chickens, 
and a lame wild goose that hobbled along alone. Then 
there were shiny peafowls screeching clarion calls from the 
trees overhead, and flocks of singing blackbirds, and pigeons 
hovering over and alighting upon the house. Last to 
approach were a woolly sheep that added his baa-baa to the 
din, and a bald-faced burro that walked in his sleep. These 
two became the centre of clamor. After many tumbles 
four chubby youngsters mounted the burro; and the others, 
with loud acc'aim, shouting, "Noddle, Noddle, getupl 

S6 



THE OASIS 

getap!" endeavored to make him go. But Noddle fiodded 
and refused to awaken or budge. Then an ambitious urchin 
of six fastened his hands in the fur of the sheep and essayed 
to climb to his back. Willing hands assisted him. "Ride 
him, Billy, ride him. Getup, Navvy, getup 1" 

Navvy evidently had never been ridden, for he began a 
fair imitation of a bucking bronco. Billy held on, but the 
smile vanished and he corners of his mouth drew down. 

"Hang on, Billy, hang on," cried August Naab, in delight. 
Billy hung on a moment longer, and then Navvy, bewildered 
by the pestering crowd about him, launched out and, butting 
into Noddle, spilled the four youngsters and Billy also into a 
wriggling heap. 

This recess-time completed Hare's introduction to the 
Naabs. There were Mother Mary, and Judith and Esther, 
whom he knew, and Mother Ruth and her two daughters 
very like their sisters. Mother Ruth, August's second wife, 
was younger than Mother Mary, more comely of face, and 
more sad and serious of expression. The wives of the five 
sons, except Snap Naab's frail bride, were stalwart women, 
fit to make homes and rear children. 

"Now, Jack, things are moving all right," said August. 
"For the present you must eat and rest. Walk some, but 
don't tire yourself. We'll practise shooting a little every 
day; that's one thing I'll spare time for. I've a trick with a 
gun to teach you. And if you feel able, take a burro and 
ride. Anyway, make yourself at home." 

Hare found eating and resting to be matters of 
profound enjoyment. Before he had fallen in with these 
good people it had been a year since he had sat down 
to a full meal; longer still since he had eaten whole- 

57 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

some food. And now he had come to a "land overflowing 
with milk and honey," as Mother Ruth smilingly said. He 
could not choose between roast beef and chicken, and so he 
waived the question by taking both; and what with the bis- 
cuits and butter, apple-sauce and blackberry jam, cherry pie 
and milk like cream, there was danger of making himself ill. 
He told his friends that he simply could not help it, which 
shameless confession brought a hearty laiigh from August 
and beaming smiles from his women-folk. 

For several days Hare was remarkably well, for an 
invalid. He won golden praise from August at the 
rifle practice, and he began to take lessons In the quick 
drawing and rapid firing of a Colt revolver, Naab was 
wonderfully proficient in the use of both firearms; and his 
skill in drawing the smaller weapon, in which his movement 
was quicker than the eye, astonished Hare. "My lad," 
said August, "it doesn't follow because I'm a Christian that 
I don't know how to handle a gun. Besides, I like to 
shoot." 

In these few days Hare learned what conquering the desert 
made of a man. August Naab was close to threescore years; 
his chest was wide as a door, his arm like the branch of an 
oak. He was a blacksmith, a mechanic, a carpenter, a 
cooper, a potter. At his forge and in his shop, everywhere, 
were crude tools, wagons, farming implements, sets of buck- 
skin harness, odds and ends of nameless things, eloquent and 
pregnant proof of the fact that necessity is the mother of in- 
vention. He was a mason; the levee that buffeted back 
the rage of the Colorado in flood, the wall that turned the 
creek, the irrigation tunnel, the zigzag trail cut on the face 
of the clifF — all these attested his eye for line, his judg- 

S8 



THE OASIS 

ment of distance, his strength in toil. He was a farmer, a 
cattle-man, a grafter of fruit-trees, a breeder of horses, a 
herder of sheep, a preacher, a physician. Best and strang- 
est of all in this wonderful man was the instinct and the 
heart to heal. "I don't combat the doctrine of the Mormon 
church," he said, "but I administer a little medicine with 
my healing. I learned that from the Navajos." The 
children ran to him with bruised heads, and cut fingers, 
and stubbed toes; and his blacksmith's hands were as 
gentle as a woman's. A mustang with a lame leg 
claimed his serious attention; a sick sheep gave him 
an anxious look; a steer with a gored skin sent him 
running for a bucket of salve. He could not pass by a 
crippled quail. The farm was overrun by Navajo sheep 
which he had found strayed and lost on the desert. Anything 
hurt or helpless had in August Naab a friend. Hare found 
himself looking up to a great and luminous figure, and he 
loved this man. 

As the days passed Hare learned many other things. 
For a while illness confined him to his bed on the porch. At 
night he lay listening to the roar of the river, and watching 
the stars. Twice he heard a distant crash and rumble, 
heavy as thunder, and he knew that somewhere along the 
cliffs avalanches were slipping. By day he watched the 
cotton snow down upon him, and listened to the many birds, 
and waited for the merry show at recess-time. After a 
short time the children grew less shy and came readily to 
him. They were the most wholesome children he had ever 
known. Hare wondered about it, and decided it was not 
so much Mormon teaching as isolation from the world. 
These children had never been out of their clifF-walled 
5 59 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

home,, and civilization was for them as if it were not. He 
told them stories, and after school hours they would race to 
him and climb on his bed, and beg for more. 

He exhausted his supply of fairy-stories and animal- 
stories; and had begun to tell about the places and cities 
which he had visited when the eager-eyed children were 
peremptorily called within by Mother Maiy. This pained 
him and he was at a loss to understand it. Enlightenment 
came, however, in the way of an argument between Naab 
and Mother Mary which he overheard. The elder wife 
said that the stranger was welcome to the children, but she 
insisted that they hear nothing of the outside world, and 
that they be kept to the teachings of the Mormon geography 
—which made all the world outside Utah an untrodden 
wilderness. August Naab did not hold to the letter of the 
Mormon law; he argued that if the children could not be 
raised as Mormons with a full knowledge of the world, they 
would only be lost in the end to the Church. 

Other developments surprised Hare. The house of this 
good Mormon was divided against itself. Precedence was 
given to the first and elder wife — Mother Mary; Mother 
Ruth's life was not without pain. The men were out on 
the ranges all day, usually two or more of them for several 
days at a time, and this left the women alone. One 
daughter taught the school, the other daughters did all the 
chores about the house, from feeding the stock to chopping 
wood. The work was hard, and the girls would rather have 
been in White Sage or Lund. They disliked Mescal, and 
said things inspired by jealousy. Snap Naab's wife was 
vindictive, and called Mescal "that Indian!" 

It struck him on hearing this gossip that he had missed 

60 



THE OASIS 

Mescal. AVhat had become of her ? Curiosity jJrompting 
him, he asked little Billy about her. 

"Mescal's with the sheep," piped Billy. 

That she was a shepherdess pleased Hare, and he thought 
of her as free on the open range, with the wind blowing her 
hair. 

One day when Hare felt stronger he took his walk round 
the farm with new zest. Upon his return to the house he 
saw Snap's cream pinto in the yard, and Dave's mustang 
cropping the grass near by. A dusty pack lay on the ground. 
Hare walked down the avenue of cottonwoods and was 
about to turn the corner of the old forge when he stopped 
short. 

"Now mind you, I'll take a bead on this white-faced spy 
if you send him up there." 

It was Snap Naab's voice, and his speech concluded with 
the click of teeth characteristic of him in anger. 

"Stand there!" August Naab exclaimed in wrath. "Lis- 
ten. You have been drinking again or you wouldn't talk 
of killing a man. I warned you. I won't do this thing you 
ask of me till I have your promise. Why won't you leave 
the bottle alone ?" 

"I'll promise," came the sullen reply. 

"Very well. Then pack and go across to Bitter Seeps." 

"That job '11 take all summer," growled Snap. 

"So much the better. When you come home I'll keep 
my promise." 

Hare moved away silently; the shock of Snap's first 
words had kept him fast in his tracks long enough to hear 
the conversation. Why did Snap threaten him.? Where 
was August Naab going to send him ? Hare had no means 

6i 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

of coming to an understanding of either question. He 
was disturbed in mind and resolved to keep out of Snap's 
way. He went to the orchard, but his stay of an hour 
availed nothing, for on his return, after threading the maze 
of cottonwoods, he came face to face with the man he 
wanted to avoid. 

Snap Naab, at the moment of meeting, had a black bottle 
tipped high above his lips. 

With a curse he threw the bottle at Hare, missing him 
narrowly. He was drunk. His eyes were bloodshot. 

"If you tell father you saw me drinking I'll kill you!" he 
hissed, and rattling his Colt in its holster, he walked 
away. 

Hare walked back to his bed, where he lay for a long time 
with his whole inner being in a state of strife. It gradually 
wore off as he strove for calm. The playground was de- 
serted; no one had seen Snap's action, and for that he was 
glad. Then his attention was diverted by a clatter of ring- 
ing hoofs on the road; a mustang and a cloud of dust were 
approaching. 

"Mescal and Black BoUy!" he exclaimed, and sat up 
quickly. The mustang turned in the gate, slid to a stop, 
and stood quivering, restive, tossing its thoroughbred head, 
black as a coal, with freedom and fire in every line. Mescal 
leaped off lightly. A gray form flashed in at the gate, fell 
at her feet and rose to leap about her. It was a splendid 
dog, huge in frame, almost white, wild as the mustang. 

This was the Mescal whom he remembered, yet some- 
how different. The sombre homespun garments had given 
place to fringed and beaded buckskin. 

"I've come for you," she said. 
6? 



• THE OASIS 

"For me?" he asked, wonderingly, as she approached 
with the bridle of the black over her arm. 

"Down, Wolf!" she cried to the leaping dog. "Yes. 
Didn't you know? Father Naab says you're to help me 
tend the sheep. Are you better? I hone so — You're 
quit^ pale." 

"I — I'm not so well," said Hare. 

He looked up at her, at the black sweep of her hair under 
the white band, at her eyes, like jet; and suddenly realized, 
with a gladness new and strange to him, that he liked to 
look at her, that she was beautiful. 



BLACK SAGE AND JUNIPER 

AUGUST NAAB appeared on the path leading from his 
r\ fields. 

"Mescal, here you are," he greeted. "How about the 
sheep ?" 

"Piute's driving them down to the lower range. There 
are a thousand coyotes hanging about the flock." 

"That's bad," rejoined August. "Jack, there's evi- 
dently some real shooting in store for you. We'll pack 
to-day and get an early start to-morrow. I'll put you on 
Noddle; he's slow, but the easiest climber I ever owned. 
He's like riding . . . what's the matter with you? 
What's happened to make you angry ?" 

One of his long strides spanned the distance between them. 

"Oh, nothing," said Hare, flushing. 

"Lad, I know of few circumstances that justify a lie. 
You've met Snap." 

Hare might still have tried to dissimulate; but one glance 
at August's stem face showed the uselessness of it. He 
kept silent. 

"Drink makes my son unnatural," said Naab. Hr. 
breathed heavily as one in conflict with wrath. "We'll not 
wait till to-morrow to go up on the plateau; we'll go at 
once." 

64 



BLACK SAGE AND JUNIPER 

Then quick surprise awakened for Hare in the meaning 
in Mescal's eyes; he caught only a fleeting glimpse, a dark 
flash, and it left him with a glow of an emotion half pleasure, 
half pain. 

"Mescal," went on August, "go into the house, and keep 
out of Snap's way. Jack, watch me pack. You need to 
learn these things. I could put all this outfit on two burros, 
but the trail is narrow, and a wide pack might bump a 
burro oflf". Let's see, I've got all your stuff but the saddle; 
that we'll leave till we get a horse for you. Well, all's 
ready." 

Mescal came at his call and, mounting Black Bolly, rode 
out toward the cliff wall, with Wolf trotting before her. 
Hare bestrode Noddle. August, waving good-bye to his 
women-folk, started the train of burros after Mescal. 

How they would be able to climb the face of that steep 
cliff puzzled Hare. Upon nearer view he discovered the 
yard-wide trail curving upward in cork-screw fashion round 
a projecting corner of cliff. The stone was a soft red shale, 
and the trail had been cut in it at a steep angle. It was so 
steep that the burros appeared to be climbing straight up. 
Noddle pattered into it, dropped his head and his long ears 
and slackened his pace to patient plodding. August 
walked in the rear. 

The first thing that struck Hare was the way the burros 
in front of him stopped at the curves in the trail, and turned 
in a space so small that their four feet were close together; 
yet as they swung their packs they scarcely scraped the wall. 
At every turn they were higher than he was, going in the 
opposite direction, yet he could reach out and touch them. 
He glanced up to see Mescal right above him, leaning for- 

65 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

ward with her brown hands clasping the pommel. Then 
he looked out and down; already the green cluster of cotton- 
woods lay far below. After that sensations pressed 
upon him. Round and round, up and up, steadily, surely, 
the beautiful mustar^g led the train; there were sounds of 
rattling stones, and click of hoofs, and scrape of.pafck. 
On one side towered the iron-stained cliff, not smooth or 
glistening at close range, but of dull, dead, rotting rock. 
The trail changed to a zigzag along a seamed and 
cracked buttress where ledges leaned outward waiting 
to fall. Then a steeper incline, where the burros crept 
upward warily, led to a level ledge heading to the left. 

Mescal halted on a promontory. She, with her wind- 
blown hair, the gleam of white band about her head, 
and a dash of red along the fringed leggings, gave inex- 
pressible life and beauty to that wild, jagged point of rock, 
sharp against the glaring sky. 

"This is Lookout Point," said Naab. "I keep an Indian 
here all the time during daylight. He's a peon, a Navajo 
slave. He can't talk, as he was bom without a tongue, or 
it was cut out, but he has the best eyes of any Indian I know. 
You see this point commands the farm, the crossing, the 
Navajo Trail over the river, the Echo Cliffs opposite, where 
the Navajos signal to me, and also the White Sage Trail." 

The oasis shone under the triangular promontory; the 
river with its rising roar wound in bold curve from the split 
in the cliffs. To the right white-sloped Coconina breasted 
the horizon. Forward across the Canon line opened the 
many-hued desert. 

"With this peon watching here I'm not likely to be sur- 
pnsed," said Naab. "That strip of sand protects me at 

66 



BLACK SAGE AND JUNIPER 

night from approach, and I've never had anything ta fear 
from across the river." 

Naab's peon came from a little cave in the wall; and 
grinned the greeting he could not speak. To Hare's un- 
educated eye all Indians resembled each other. Yet this 
one stopd apart from the others, not differing in blanketed 
leanness, or straggling black hair, or bronze skin, but in the 
bird-of-prey cast of his features and the wildness of his 
glittering eyes. Naab gave him a bag from one of the packs, 
spoke a few words in Navajo, and then slapped the burros 
into the trail. 

The climb thenceforth was more rapid because less steep, 
and the trail now led among broken fragments of cliff. The 
color of the stones had changed from red to yellow, and 
small cedars grew in protected places. Hare's judgment of 
height had such frequent cause for correction that he gave 
up trying to estimate the altitude. The ride had begun to 
tell on his strength, and toward the end he thought he could 
not manage to stay longer upon Noddle. The air had grown 
thin and cold, and though the sun was yet an hour high, his 
fingers were numb. 

"Hang on. Jack," cheered August. "We're almost up." 

At last Black Bolly disappeared, likewise the bobbing 
burros, one by one, then Noddle, wagging his ears, reached 
a level. Then Hare saw a gray-green cedar forest, with 
yellow crags rising in the background, and a rush of cold 
wind smote his face. For a moment he choked; he could 
not get his breath. The air was thin and rare, and, he in- 
haled deeply trying to overcome the suffocation. Presently 
he realized that the trouble was not with the rarity of the 
atmosphere, but with the bitter-sweet penetrating odor it 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

carried. He was almost stifled. It was not like the smell 
of pine, though it made him think of pine-trees. 

"Ha! that's good!" said Naab, expanding his great chest. 
"That's air for you, my lad. Can you taste it? Well, 
here's camp, your home for many a day. Jack. There's 
Piute — how do ? how're the sheep ?" 

A short, squat Indian, good-humored of face, shook his 
black head till the silver rings danced in his ears, and replied : 
"Bad — damn coyotee!" 

"Piute — shake with Jack. Him shoot coyote — got big 
gun," said Naab. 

"How-do- Jack?" replied Piute, extending his hand, and 
then straightway began examining the new rifle. " Damn — 
heap big gun!" 

"Jack, you'll find this Indian one ydu can trust, for all 
he's a Piute outcast," went on August. "I've had him 
with me ever since Mescal found him on the Coconina 
Trail five years ago. What Piute doesn't know about this 
side of Coconina isn't worth learning." 

In a depression sheltered from the wind lay the camp. 
A fire burned in the centre; a conical tent, like a tepee in 
shape, hung suspended from a cedar branch and was staked 
at its four points; a leaning slab of rock furnished shelter 
for camp supplies and for the Indian, and at one end a 
spring gushed out. A gray-sheathed cedar-tree marked the 
entrance to this hollow glade, and under it August began 
preparing Hare's bed. 

"Here's the place you're to sleep, rain or shine or snow," 
he said. "Now I've spent my life sleeping on the ground, 
and mother earth makes the best bed. I'll dig out a little 
pit in this soft mat of needles; that's for your hips. Then 

6? 



BLACK SAGE AND JUNIPER 

the tarpaulin so; a blanket so. Now the other blankets. 
Your feet must be a little higher than your head; you really 
sleep down hill, which breaks the wind. So you never 
catch cold. All you need do is to change your position 
according to the direction of the wind. Pull up the blankets, 
and then the long end of the tarpaulin. If it rains or snows 
cover your head, and sleep, my lad, sleep to the song of the 
wind!" 

From where Hare lay, resting a weary body, hecould see 
down Into the depression which his position guarded. Naab 
built up the fire; Piute peeled potatoes with deliberate care; 
Mescal, on her knees, her brown arms bare, kneaded dough 
in a basin; Wolf crouched on the ground, and watched his 
mistress; Black Bolly tossed her head, elevating the bag 
on her nose so as to get all the grain. 

Naab called him to supper, and When Hare set to with a 
will on the bacon and eggs, and hot biscuits, he nodded 
approvingly. "That's what I want to see," he said approv- 
ingly. "You must eat. Piute will get deer, or you may 
shoot them yourself; eat all the venison you can. Remem- 
ber what Scarbreast said. Then rest. That's the secret. 
If you eat and rest you will gain strength." 

The edge of the wall was not a hundred paces from the 
camp; and when Hare strolled out to it after supper, the 
sun had dipped the under side of its red disc behind the 
desert. He watched it sink, while the golden-red flood 
of light grew darker and darker. Thought seemed remote 
from him then; he watched, and watched, until he saw the 
last spark of fire die from the snow-slopes of Coconina. The 
desert became dimmer and dimmer; the oasis lost its outline 
in a bottomless purple pit, except for a faint light, like a star. 

69 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

The bleating of sheep aroused him and he returned to 
camp. The fire was still bright. Wolf slept close to 
Mescal's tent; Piute was not in sight; and Naab had rolled 
himself in blankets. Crawling into his bed, Hare stretched 
aching legs and lay still, as if he would never move again. 
Tired as he was, the bleating of the sheep, the clear ring 
of the bell on Black Bolly, and the faint tinkle of lighter* 
bells on some of the rams, drove away sleep for a while. 
Accompanied by the sough of the wind through the cedars 
the music of the bells was sweet, and he listened till he heard 
no more. 

A thin coating of frost crackled on his bed when he 
awakened; and out from under the shelter of the cedar 
all the ground was hoar-white. As he slipped from his 
blankets the same strong smell of black sage and juniper 
smote him, almost like a blow. His nostrils seemed glued 
together by some rich piny pitch; and when he opened his 
lips to breathe a sudden pain, as of a knife-thrust, pierced 
his lungs. The thought following was as sharp as the pain. 
Pneumonia! What he had long expected! He sank 
against the cedar, overcome by the shock. But he rallied 
presently, for with the reestablishment of the old settled 
bitterness, which had been forgotten in the interest of 
his situation, he remembered that he had given up 
hope. Still, he could not get back at once to his former 
resignation. He hated to acknowledge that the wildness of 
this desert canon country, and the spirit it sought to instil 
in him, had wakened a desire to live. For it meant 
only more to give up. And after one short instant of battle 
he was himself again. He put his hand under his flannel 
shirt and felt of the soreness of his lungs. He found it not 

70 



BLACK SAGE AND JUNIPER 

at the apex of the right lung, always the one sensitive spot, 
but all through his breast. Little panting breaths did not 
hurt; but the deep inhalation, which alone satisfied him, 
filled his whole chest with thousands of pricking needles. 
In the depth of his breast was a hollow that burned. 

When he had pulled on his boots and coat, and had 
washed himself in the, runway of the spring, his hands were 
so numb with cold they refused to hold his comb and brush; 
and he presented himself at the roaring fire half-frozen, dis- 
hevelled, trembling, but cheerful. He would not tell Naab. 
If he had to die to-day, to-morrow or next week, he would 
lie down under a cedar and die; he could not whine about 
it to this man. 

"Up with the sun!" was Naab's greeting. His cheerful- 
ness was as impelling as his splendid virility. Following 
the wave of his hand Hare saw the sun, a pale-pink globe 
through a misty blue, rising between the golden crags of 
the eastern wall. 

Mescal had a shy "good -morning" for him, and Piute a 
broad smile, and familiar "how-do"; the peon slave, who 
had finished breakfast and was about to depart, moved his 
lips in friendly greeting that had no sound. 

" Did you hear the coyotes last night ?" inquired August. 
"No! Well, of all the choruses I ever heard. There must 
be a thousand on the bench. Jack, I wish I could spare the 
time to stay up here with you and shoot some. You'll have 
practice with the rifle, but don't neglect the Colt. Practice 
particularly the draw I taught you. Piute has a carbine, 
and he shoots at the coyotes, but who ever saw an Indian 
that could hit anything ?" 

"Pamn — gun no good!" growled Piyte, who evidently 

71 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

understood English pretty well. Naab laughed, and while 
Hare ate breakfast he talked, of the sheep. The flock 
he had numbered three thousand. They were a goodly 
part of them Navajo stock: small, hardy sheep that could 
live on anything but cactus, and needed little water. This 
flock had grown from a small number to its present size in a 
few years. Being remarkably free from the diseases and 
pests which retard increase in low countries, the sheep had 
multiplied almost one for one for every year. But for the 
ravages of wild beasts Naab believed he could raise a flock 
of many thousands and in a brief time be rich in sheep 
alone. In the winter he drove them down into the oasis; 
the other seasons he herded them on the high ranges where 
the cattle could not climb. There was grass enough on this 
plateau for a million sheep. .After the spring thaw in early 
March, occasional snows fell till the end of May, and frost 
hung on until early summer; then the July rains made the 
plateau a garden. 

"Get the forty-four," concluded Naab, "and we'll go 
out and break it in." 

With the long rifle in the hollow of his arm Jack forgot 
that he was a sick man. When he came within gunshot of 
the flock the smell of sheep effectually smothered the keen, 
tasty odor of black sage and juniper. Sheep ranged every- 
where under the low cedars. They browsed with noses in 
the frost, and from all around came the tinkle of tiny bells 
on the curly-horned rams, and an endless variety of bleats. 

"They're spread now," said August. "Mescal drives 
them on every little while and Piute goes ahead to pick out 
the best browse. Watch the dog, Jack; he's all but human. 
His mother was a big shepherd dog that I got in Lund. 

72 



BLACK SAGE AND JUNIPER 

She must have had a strain of wild blood. Once while I 
was hunting deer on Coconina she ran off with timber 
wolves and we thought she was killed. But she came back, 
and had a litter of three puppies. Two were white, the 
other black. I think she killed the black one. And she 
neglected the others. One died, and Mescal raised the 
other. We called him Wolf. He loves Mescal, and loves 
the sheep, and hates a wolf. Mescal puts a bell on him 
when she is driving, and the sheep know the bell. I think 
it would be a good plan for her to tie something red round 
his neck — a scarf, so as to keep you from shooting him 
for a wolf." 

Nimble, alert, the big white dog was not still a moment. 
His duty was to keep the flock compact, to head the strag- 
glers and turn them back; and he knew his part perfectly. 
There was dash and fire in his work. He never barked. 
As he circled the Jock the small Navajo sheep, edging ever 
toward forbidden ground, bleated their way back to the fold, 
the larger ones wheeled reluctantly, and the old belled rams 
squared themselves, lowering their massive horns as if to 
butt him. Never, however, did they stand their ground 
when he reached them, for there was a decision about Wolf 
which brooked no opposition. At times when he was work- 
ing on one side a crafty sheep on the other would steal out 
into the thicket. Then Mescal called and Wolf flashed 
back to her, lifting his proud head, eager, spirited, ready 
to take his order. A word, a wave of her whip sufiiced for 
the dog to rout out the recalcitrant sheep and send him 
bleating to his fellows. 

"He manages them easily now," said Naab, "but when 
the lambs come they can't be kept in. The coyotes and 

n 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

wolves hang out in the thickets and pick up the stragglers. 
The worst enemy of sheep, though, is the old grizzly bear. 
Usually he is grouchy, and dangerous to hunt. He comes 
into the herd, kills the mother sheep, and eats the milk-bag 
— no more! He will kill forty sheep in a night. Piute saw 
the tracks of one up on the high range, and believes this 
bear is following the flock. Let's get off into the woods 
some little way, into the edge of the thickets — for Piute 
always keeps to the glades — and see if we can pick off a few 
coyotes." 

August cautioned Jack to step stealthily, and slip from 
cedar to cedar, to use every bunch of sage and juniper to 
hide his advance. 

"Watch sharp, Jack. I've seen two already. Look for 
moving things. Don't try to see one quiet, for you can't 
till after your eye catches him moving. They are gray.j 
gray as the cedars, the grass, the ground. Good! Yes, I 
see him, but don't shoot. That's too far. Wait. They 
sneak away, but they return. You can afford to make sure. 
Here now, by that stone — aim low and be quick." 

In the course of a mile, without keeping the sheep near 
at hand, they saw upward of twenty coyotes, five of which 
Jack killed in as many shots. 

"You've got the hang of it," said Naab, rubbing his 
hands. "You'll kill the varmints. Piute will skin and salt 
the pelts. Now I'm going up on the high range to look 
for bear sign. Go ahead, on your own hook." 

Hare was regardless of time while he stole under the 
cedars and through the thickets, spying out the cunning 
coyotes. Then Naab's yell pealing out claimed his atten- 
tion; he answered and returned. When they met he re' 

74 



BLACK SAGE AND JUNIPER 

counted his adventures in mingled excitement and disap- 
pointment. 

"Are you tifed ?" asked Naab. 

"Tired ? No," replied Jack. 

"Well, you mustn't overdo the very first day. I've news 
for you. There are some v?ild horses on the high range. I 
didn't see them, but found tracks everywhere. If they 
come down here you send Piute to close the trail at the 
upper end of the bench, and you close the one where we 
came up. There are only two trails where even a deer can 
get off this plateau, and both are narrow splits in the wall, 
which can be barred by the gates. We made the gates to 
keep the sheep in, and they'll serve a turn. If you get the 
wild horses on the bench send Piute for me at once." 

They passed the Indian herding the sheep into a corral 
built against an uprising ridge of stone. Naab dispatched 
him to look for the dead coyotes. The three burros were in 
camp, two wearing empty pack-saddles, and Noddle, for 
once not asleep, was eating from Mescal's hand. 

"Mescal, hadn't I better take Black Bolly home ?" asked 
August. 

"Mayn't I keep her?" 

"She's yours. But you run a risk. There are wild 
horses on the range. Will you keep her hobbled ?" 

"Yes," replied Mescal, reluctantly. "Though I don't 
believe Bolly would run oflF from me." 

" Look out she doesn't go, hobbles and all. Jack, here's 
the other bit of news I have for you. There's a big grizzly 
camping on the trail of our sheep. Now what I want to 
know is — shall I leave him to you, or put off work and come 
up here to wait for him myself?" 
6 75 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"Why — " said Jack, slowly, "whatever you say. If you 
think you can safely leave him to me — I'm willing." 

"A grizzly won't be pleasant to face. I never knew 
one of those sheep-killers that wouldn't run at a man, if 
wounded." 

"Tell me what to do." 

"If he comes down it's more than likely to be after dark. 
Don't risk hunting him then. Wait till morning, and put 
Wolf on his trail. He'll be up in the rocks, and by holding 
in the dog you may find him asleep in a cave. However, if 
you happen to meet him by day do this. Don't waste any 
shots. Climb a ledge or tree if one be handy. If not, stand 
your ground. Get down on your knee and shoot and let 
him come. Mind you, he'll grunt when he's hit, and start 
for you, and keep coming till he's dead. Have confidence 
in yourself and your gun, for you can kill him. Aim low, 
and shoot steady. If he keeps on coming there's always a 
fatal shot, and that is when he rises. You'll see a bare spot 
on his breast. Put a forty-four into that, and he'll go 
down." 

August had spoken so easily, quite as if he were explain- 
ing how to shear a yearling sheep, that Jack's feelings 
fluctuated between amazement and laughter. Verily this 
desert man was stripped of all the false fears of civilization. 

"Now, Jack, I'm off. Good-bye and good luck. Mes- 
cal, look out for him. . . . So-ho! Noddle! Getup! 
Biscuit!" And with many a cheery word and slap he urged 
the burros into the forest, where they and his tall form soon 
disappeared among the trees. 

Piute came stooping toward camp so burdened with 
coyotes that he could scarcely be seen under the gray pile. 

76 



BLACK SAGE AND JUNIPER 

With a fervent "damn" he tumbled them under a cedar, 
and trotted back into the forest for another load. Jack 
insisted on assuming his share of the duties about camp; 
and Mescal assigned him to the task of gathering firewood, 
breaking red-hot sticks of wood into small pieces, and raking 
them into piles of live coals. Then they ate, these two 
alone. Jack did not do justice to the supper; ej^citement 
had robbed him of appetite. He told Mescal how he had 
crept upon the coyotes, how so many had eluded him, how 
he had missed a gray wolf. He plied her with questions 
about the sheep, and wanted to know if there would be more 
wolves, and if she thought the "silvertip" would come. He 
was quite carried away by the events of the day. 

The sunset drew him to the rim. Dark clouds were 
mantling the desert like rolling smoke from a prairie^fire. 
He almost stumbled over Mescal, who sat with her back 
to a stone. Wolf lay with his head in her lap, and tie 
growled. 

"There's a storm on the desert," she said. "Those 
smoky streaks are flying sand. We may have snow to-night. 
It's colder, and the wind is north. See, I've a blanket. 
You had better get one." 

He thanked her and went for it. Piute was eating his 
supper, and the peon had just come in. The bright camp- 
fire was agreeable, yet Hare did not feel cold. But he 
wrapped himself in a blanket and returned to Mescal and 
sat beside her. The desert lay indistinct in the foreground, 
inscrutable beyond; the canon lost its line in gloom. The 
solemnity of the scene stilled his unrest, the strange 
freedom of longings unleashed that day. What had come 
over him? He shook his head; but with the conscious- 

77 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

ness of self returned a feeling of fatigue, the burning pain 
in his chest, the bitter-sweet smell of black sage and 
juniper. 

"You love this outlook ?" he asked. 

"Yes." 

"Do yoh sit here often?" 

"Every evening." 

"Is it the sunset that you care for, the roar of the river, 
just being here high above it all ?" 

"It's that last, perhaps; I don't know." 

"Haven't you been lonely ?" 

"No." 

"You'd rather be here with the sheep than be in Lund, 
or Salt Lake City, as Esther and Judith want to be ?" 

"Yes." 

Any other reply from her would not have been consistent 
with the Impression she was making on him. As yet he had 
hardly regarded her as a young girl; she had been part 
of this beautiful desert-land. But he began to see in her a 
responsive being, influenced by his presence. If the situa- 
tion was wonderful to him what must it be for her ? Like a 
shy. Illusive creature, unused to men, she was troubled by 
questions, fearful of the sound of her own voice. Yet in 
repose, as she watched the lights and shadows, she was 
serene, unconscious; her dark, quiet glance was dreamy 
and sad, and In it was the sombre, brooding strength of the 
desert. 

Twilight and falling dew sent them back to the canip. 
Piute and Peon were skinning coyotes by the blaze of the 
fire. The night wind had not yet risen; the sheep were 
quiet; there was no sound save the crackle of burning cedar 

78 



BLACK SAGE AND JUNIPER 

sticks. Jack began to talk; he had to talk, so, addressing 
Piute and the dumb peon, he struck at random into speech, 
and words flowed with a rush. Piute approved, for he said 
"damn" whenever his intelligence grasped a meaning, and 
the peon twisted his lips and fixed his diamond eyes upon 
Hare in rapt gaze. The sound of a voice was welcome to 
the sentinels of that lonely sheep-range. Jack talked of 
cities, of ships, of people, of simple things in the life he had 
left, and he discovered that Mescal listened. Not only did 
she listen; she became absorbed; it was romance to her, 
fulfilment of her vague dreams. Nor did she seek her tent 
till he ceased; then with a startled "good-night" she was 
gone. 

From under the snugness of his warm blankets Jack 
watched out the last wakeful moments of that day of days. 
A star peeped through the fringe of cedar foliage. The 
wind sighed, and rose steadily, to sweep over him with 
breath of ice, with the fragrance of juniper and black sage 
and a tang of cedar. 

But that day was only the beginning of eventful days, of 
increasing charm, of forgetfulness of self, of time that 
passed unnoted. Every succeeding day was like its pred- 
ecessor, only richer. Every day the hoar-frost silvered 
the dawn; the sheep browsed; the coyotes skulked in the 
thickets; the rifle spoke truer and truer. Every sunset i 
Mescal's changing eyes mirrored the desert. Every twi- 
light Jack sat beside her in the silence; every night, in the 
camp-fire flare, he talked to Piute and the peon. 

The Indians were appreciative listeners, whether they 
understood Jack or not, but his talk with them was only a 
pretence. He wished to reveal the outside woHd to Mescal, 

79 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

and he saw with pleasure that eveiy day she grew more 
interested. 

One evening he was telling of New York City, of the mon- 
ster buildings where men worked, and of the elevated rail- 
ways, for the time was the late seventies and they were still 
a novelty. Then something unprecedented occurred, inas- 
much as Piute earnestly and vigorously interrupted Jack, 
demanding to have this last strange story made more clear. 
Jack did his best in gesture and speech, but he had to appeal 
to Mescal to translate his meaning to the Indian. This 
Mescal did with surprising fluency. The result, however, 
was that Piute took exception to the story of trains carrying 
people through the air. He lost his grin and regarded Jack 
with much disfavor. Evidently he was experiencing the 
bitterness of misplaced trust. 

"Heap damn lie!" he exclaimed with a growl, and stalked 
oflF into the gloom. 

Piute's expressive doubt discomfited Hare, but only mo- 
mentarily, for Mescal's silvery peal of laughter told him that 
the incident had brought them closer together. He laughed 
with her and discovered a well of joyousness behind her re- 
serve. Thereafter he talked directly to Mescal. The ice 
being broken she began to ask questions, shyly at first, yet 
more and more eagerly, until she forgot herself in the desire 
to learn of cities and people; of women especially, what they 
wore and how they lived, and all that life meant to them. 

The sweetest thing which had ever come to Hare was the 
teaching of this desert girl. How naive in her questions 
and how quick to grasp she was ! The teaching out of her 
mind was like the unfolding of a rose. Evidently the 
Mormon restrictions had limited her opportunities to leara 

80 



BLACK SAGE AND JUNIPER 

But her thought had striven to escape its narrow confines, 
and now, liberated by sympathy and intelligence, it leaped 
forth. 

Lambing -time came late in May, and Mescal, Wolf, 
Piute and Jack knew no rest. Night-time was safer for the 
sheep than the day, though the howling of a thousand 
coyotes made it hideous for the shepherds. All in a day, 
seemingly, the little fleecy lambs came, as if by magic, and 
filled the forest with piping bleats. Then they were totter- 
ing after their mothers, gamboling at a day's growth, wilful 
as youth — and the carnage began. Boldly the coyotes 
darted out of thicket and bush, and many lambs never 
returned to their mothers. Gaunt shadows hovered always 
near; the great timber-wolves waited in covert for prey. 
Piute slept not at all, and the dog's jaws were flecked with 
blood morning and night. Jack hung up fifty-four coyotes 
the second day; the third he let them lie, seventy in num- 
ber. Many times the rifle-barrel burned his hands. His 
aim grew unerring, so that running brutes in range dropped 
in their tracks. Many a gray coyote fell with a lamb in his 
teeth. 

One night when sheep and lambs were in the corral, and 
the shepherds rested round the camp-fire, the dog rose 
quivering, snifl'ed the cold wind, and suddenly bristled with 
every hair standing erect. 

"Wolf!" called Mescal. 

The sheep began to bleat. A rippling crash, a splinter- 
ing of wood, told of an irresistible onslaught on the corral 
fence. 

"Chus — chus!" exclaimed Piute. 

Wolf, not heeding Mescal's cry, flashed like lighthing 

8i 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

under the cedars. The rush of the sheep, pattering across 
the corral, was succeeded by an uproar. 

"Bear! Bear!" cried Mescal, with dark eyes on Jack. 
He seized his rifle. 

"Don't go," she implored, her hand on his arm. "Not 
at night — remember Father Naab said not." 

"Listen! I won't stand that. I'll go. Here, get in the 
tree — quick !" 

"No— no— " 

"Do as I say!" It was a command. The girl wavered. 
He dropped the rifle, and swung her up. "Climb!" 

"No— don't go— Jack!" 

With Piute at his heels he ran out into the darkness. 



VI 

THE WIND IN THE CEDARS 

PIUTE'S Indian sense of the advantage of position in 
attack stood Jack in good stead; he led him up the 
ledge which overhung one end of the corral. In the pale 
starlight the sheep could be seen running in bands, massing 
together, crowding the fence; their cries made a deafen- 
ing din. 

The Indian shouted, but Jack could not understand him. 
A large black object was visible in the shade of the ledge. 
Piute fired his carbine. Before Jack could bring his rifle 
up the black thing moved into startlingly rapid flight. 
Then spouts of red flame illumined the corral. As he shot. 
Jack got fleeting glimpses of the bear moving like a dark 
streak against a blur of white. For all he could tell no 
bullet took effiect. 

When certain that the visitor had departed Jack descended 
into the corral. He and Piute searched for dead sheep, but, . 
much to their surprise, found none. If the grizzly had 
killed one he must have taken it with him; and estimating 
his strength from the gap he had broken in the fence, he 
could easily have carried off a sheep. They repaired the 
break aad rettimed to camp. 

"He's gone, Mescal. 6ome down," called Jack into the 
cedar. " Let me help you — ^there! Wasn't it lucky? He 

83 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

wasn't so brave. Either the flashes from the guns or the 
dog scared him. I was amazed to see how fast he could 
run." 

Piute found woolly brown fur hanging from Wolf's jaws. 

"He nipped the brute, that's sure," said Jack. "Good 
dog! Maybe he kept the bear from — Why Mescal! 
you're white — ^you're shaking. There's no danger. Piute 
and I'll take turns watching with Wolf." 

Mescal went silently into her tent. 

The sheep quieted down and made no further disturb* 
ance that night. The dawn broke gray, with a cold north 
wind. Dun-colored clouds rolled up, hiding the tips of 
the crags on the upper range, and a flurry of snow whitened 
the cedars. After breakfast Jack tried to get Wolf to take 
the track of the grizzly, but the scent had cooled. 

Next day Mescal drove the sheep eastward toward the 
crags, and about the middle of the afternoon reached the 
edge of the slope. Grass grew luxuriantly and it was easy 
to keep the sheep in. Moreover, that part of the forest had 
fewer trees, and scarcely any sage or thickets, so that the 
lambs were safer, barring danger which might lurk in the 
seamed and cracked cliffs overshadowing the open grassy 
plots. Piute's task at the moment was to drag dead coyotes 
to the rim, near at hand, and throw them over. Mescal 
rested on a stone, and Wolf reclined at her feet. 

Jack presently found a fresh deer track, and trailed it into 
the cedars, then up the slope to where the huge ropks massed. 

Suddenly a cry from Mescal halted him; another, a 
piercing scream of mortal fright, sent him flying down the 
slope. He bounded out of the cedars into the open. 

The white, well-bunched flock had spread, and streams of 

84 



THE WIND IN THE CEDARS 

jumping sheep fled frantically from an enormous silver- 
backed bean 

As the bear struck right and left, a brute-engine of de- 
struction, Jack sent a' bullet into him at long range. Stung, 
the grizzly whirled, bit at his side, and then reared with a 
roar of fury. 

But he did not see Jack. He dropped down and launched 
his huge bulk for Mescal. The blood rushed back to Jack's 
heart, and his empty veins seemed to freeze. 

The grizzly hurdled the streams of sheep. Terror for 
Mescal dominated Jack; if he had possessed wings he 
could not have flown quickly enough to head the bear. 
Checking himself with a suddenness that fetched him to his 
knees, he levelled the rifle. It waved as if it were a stick 
of willow. The bead-sight described a blurred curve round 
the bear. Yet he shot — in vain — again — in vain. 

Above the bleat of sheep and trample of many hoofs rang 
out Mescal's cry, despairing. 

She had turned, her hands over her breast. Wolf spriead 
his legs before her and crouched to spring, mane erect, 
jaws wide. 

By some lightning flash of memory, August Naab's words 
steadied Jack's shaken nerves. He aimed low and ahead 
of the running bear. Down the beast went in a sliding 
sprawl with a muffled roar of rage. Up he sprang, dang« 
ling a useless leg, yet leaping swiftly forward. One 
blow, sent the attacking dog aside. Jack fired again. The 
bear became a wrestling, fiery demon, death-stricken, 
but full of savage fury. Jack aimed low and shot again. 

Slowly now the grizzly reared, his frosted coat blood- 
flecked, his great head swaying. Another shot. There was 

8S 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

one wide sweep of the huge paw, and then the bear sank 
forward, drooping slowly, and stretched all his length as 
if to rest. 

Mescal, recalled to life, staggered backward. Between 
her and the outstretched paw was the distance of one short 
stride. 

Jack, bounding up, made sure the bear was dead before 
he looked at Mescal. She was faint. Wolf whined about 
her. Piute came running from the cedars. Her eyes were 
gtill fixed in a look of fear. 

"I couldn't run — I couldn't move," she said, shuddering. 
A blush drove the white from her cheeks as she raised her 
face to Jack. "He'd soon have reached me." 

•Piute added his encomium: "Damn — heap big bear — 
Jack kill um — big chief!" 

Hare laughed away his own fear and turned their atten- 
tion to the stampeded sheep. It was dark before they got 
the flock together again, and they never knew whether they 
had found them all. Supper -time was unusually quiet 
that night. Piute was jovial, but no one appeared willing 
to talk save the peon, and he could only grimace. The re- 
action of feeling following Mescal's escape had robbed Jack 
of strength of voice; he could scarcely whisper. Mescal 
spoke no word; her black lashes hid her eyes; she was 
silent, but there was that in her silence which was eloquent. 
Wolf, always indifferent save to MescaF, reacted to the subtle 
change, and as if to make amends laid his head on Jack's 
knees. The quiet hour round the camp-fire passed, and 
sleep claimed them. Another day dawned, awakening them 
fresh, faithful to their duties, regardless of what had gone 
before. 

86 



THE WI^fD IN THE CEDARS 

So the days slipped by. June came, with more leisure for 
the shepherds, better grazing for the sheep, heavier dews, 
lighter frosts, snow-squalls half rain, and bursting blossoms 
on the prickly thorns, wild-primrose patches in every shady 
spot, and bluebells lifting wan azure faces to the sun. 

The last snow-storm of June threatened all one morning; 
hung menacing over the yellow crags, in dull lead clouds wait- 
ing for the wind. Then like ships heaving anchor to a single 
command they sailed down off the heights; and the cedar 
forest became the centre of a blinding, eddying storm. The 
flakes were as large as feathers, moist, almost warm. The 
low cedars changed to mounds of white; the sheep became 
drooping curves of snow; the little lambs were lost in the 
color of their own pure fleece. Though the storm had 
been long in coming it was brief in passing. Wind- 
driven toward the desert, it moaned its last in the cedars, 
and swept away, a sheeted pall. Out over the Canon it 
floated, trailing long veils of white that thinned out, darkened, 
and failed far above the golden desert. The winding 
columns of snow merged into straight lines of leaden rain; 
the rain flowed into vapory mist, and the mist cleared in 
the gold-red glare of endless level and slope. No moisture 
reached the parched desert. 

Jack marched into camp with a snowy burden over his 
shoulder. He flung it down, disclosing a small deer; then 
he shook the white mantle from his coat, and whistling, 
kicked the flre-logs, and looked abroad at the silver cedars, 
now dripping under the sun, at the rainbows in the settling 
mists, at the rapidly melting snow on the ground. 

"Got lost in that squall. Fine! Fine!" he exclaimed, 
and threw wide his arms. 

87 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"Jack!" said Mescal. "Jack!" Memory had revived 
some forgotten thing. The dark olive of her skin crimsoned; 
her eyes dilated and shadowed with a rare change of 
emotion. 

"Jack," she repeated. 

"Well?" he replied, in surprise. 

"To look at you ! — I never dreamed — I'd forgotten — " 

"What's the matter with me ?" demanded Jack. 

Wonderingly, her mind on the past, she replied: "You 
were dying when we found you at White Sage." 

He drew himself up with a sharp catch in his breath, and 
stared at her as if he saw a ghost. 

"Oh — Jack! You're going to get well!" 

Her lips curved in a smile. 

For an instant Jack Hare spent his soul in searching her 
face for truth. While waiting for death he had utterly 
forgotten it; he remembered now, when life gleamed in the 
girl's dark eyes. Passionate joy flooded his heart. 

"Mescal — Mescal!" he cried, brokenly. The eyes were 
true that shed this sudden light on him; glad and sweet 
were the lips that bade him hope and live again. Blindly, 
instinctively he kissed them — a kiss unutterably grateful; 
then he fled into the forest, running without aim. 

That flight ended in sheer exhaustion on the far rim of 
the plateau. The spreading cedars seemed to have eyes; 
and he shunned eyes in this hour. "God! to think I cared 
so much," he whispered. "What has happened?" With 
time relief came to limbs, to labored breast and lungs, but 
not to mind. In doubt that would not die, he looked at 
himself The leanness of arms, the flat chest, the hollows 
were gone. He did not recognize his own body. H? 



THE WIND IN THE CEDARS 

breathed to the depths of his lungs. No pain — only ex. 
hilaration! He pounded his chest — no pain! He dug his 
trembling fingers into the firm flesh over the apex of his 
right lung — the place of his torture — no pain! 

"I wanted to live!" he cried. He buried his face in the 
fragrant juniper; he rolled on the soft brown mat of earth 
and hugged it close; he cooled his hot cheeks in the prim- 
rose clusters. He opened his eyes to new bright green of 
cedar, to sky of a richer blue, to a desert, strange, beckoning, 
enthralling as life itself. He counted backward a month, 
two months, and marvelled at the swiftness of time. He 
counted time forward, he looked into the future, and all was 
beautiful — ^long days, long hunts, long rides, service to his 
friend, freedom on the wild steppes, blue-white dawns upon 
the eastern crags, red-gold sunsets over the lilac fountains 
of the desert. He saw himself in triumphant health and 
strength, earning day by day the spirit of this wilderness, 
coming to fight for it, to live for it, and in far-off time, when 
he had won his victory, to die for it. 

Suddenly his mind was illumined. The lofty plateau 
with its healing breath of sage and juniper had given back 
strength to him; the silence and solitude and strife of his 
stirroundingS had called to Something deep within him; but 
it was Mescal who made this wild life sweet and significant. 
It was Mescal, the embodiment of the desert spirit. 
Like a man facing a great light Hare divined his love. 
Through all the days on the plateau, living with her the 
natural free life of Indians, close to the earth, his uncon- 
scious love had ripened. He understood now her charm 
for him; he knew now the lure of her wonderful eyes, 
flashing fire, desert*trained, like the falcon eyes of her Indian 

89 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

grandfather. The knowledge of what she had become to 
him dawned with a mounting desire that thrilled all his 
blood. 

Twilight had enfolded the plateau when Hare traced his 
way back to camp. Mescal was not there. His supper 
awaited him; Piute hummed a song; the peon sat grimac- 
ing at the fire. Hare told them to eat, and moved away 
toward the rim. 

Mescal was at her favorite seat, with the white dog beside 
her; and she watched the desert where the last glow of 
sunset gilded the mesas. How cold and calm was her 
face! How strange to him in this new character! 

"Mescal, I didn't know I loved you — ^then — but I know 
it now." 

Her face dropped quickly from its level poise, hiding the 
brooding eyes; her hand trembled on Wolf's head. 

"You spoke the truth. I'll get well. I'd rather have 
had it from your lips than from any in the world. I mean 
to live my life here where these wonderful things have come 
to me. The friendship of the good man who saved me, 
this wild, free desert, the glory of new hope, strength, life — 
and love." 

He took her hand in his and whispered, "For I love you. 
Do you care for me? Mescal! It must be complete. Do 
you care — a little ?" 

The wind blew her dusky hair; he could not see her face; 
he tried gently to turn her to him. The hand he had taken 
lay warm and trembling in his, but it was not withdrawn. 
As he waited, in fear, in hope, it became still. Her slender 
form, rigid within his arm, gradually relaxed, and yielded 
to him; her face sank on his breast, and her dark hair, 

90 



THE WIND IN THE CEDARS 

loosened from its band, covered her, and blew across his 
li{5s. That was his answer. 

The wind sang in the cedars. No longer a sigh, sad as 
thoughts of a past forever flown, but a song of what had 
come to him, of hope, of life, of Mescal's love, of the 
things to be! 

f 



vn 

SILVERMANE 

LITTLE dew fell on the night of July first; the dawn 
^ brightened without mists; a hot sun rose; the short 
summer of the plateau had begun. 

As Hare rose, refreshed and happy from his breakfast, his 
whistle was cut short by the Indian. 

"Ugh!" exclaimed Piute, lifting a dark finger. Black 
Bolly had thrown her nose-bag and slipped her halter, and 
she moved toward the opening in the cedars, her head high, 
her black ears straight up. 

"Bolly!" called Mescal.- The mare did not stop. 

"What the deuce ?" Hare ran forward to catch her. 

"I never knew Bolly to act that way," said Mescal. 
"See — she didn't eat half the oats. Well, Bolly — Jack! 
look at Wolf!" 

The white dog had risen and stood warily shifting his 
nose. He sniffed the wind, turned round and round, and 
slowly stiffened with his head pointed toward the eastern 
rise of the plateau. 

"Hold, Wolf, hold!" called Mescal, as the dog appeared 
to be about to dash away. 

"Ugh!" grunted Piute. 

"Listen, Jack; did you hear ?" whispered the girl. 

"Hear what?" 

92 



SILVERMANE 

"Listen." 

The warm breeze came down in puffs from the crags; it 
rustled in the cedars and blew fragrant whiffs of camp-fire 
smoke into his face; and presently it bore a low, prolonged 
whistle. He had never before heard its like. The sound 
broke the silence again, clearer, a keen, sharp whistle. 

"What is it ?" he queried, reaching for his rifle. 

"Wild mustangs," said Mescal. 

"No," corrected Piute, vehemently shaking his head. 
"Clea, Clea." 

"Jack, he says 'horse, horse.' It's a wild horse." 

A third time the whistle rang down from the ridge, 
splitting the air, strong and trenchant, the fieiy, shrill 
challenge of a stallion. 

Black BoUy reared straight up. 

Jack ran to the rise of ground above the camp, and looked 
over the cedars. " Oh !" he cried, and beckoned for Mescal. 
She ran to him, and Piute, tying Black Bolly, hurried after. 
"Look! look!" cried Jack. He pointed to a ridge rising to 
the left of the yellow crags. On the bare summit stood a 
splendid stallion clearly silhouetted against the ruddy 
inorning sky. He was an iron-gray, wild and proud, with 
long silver-white mane waving in the wind. 

"Silvermane! Silvermane!" exclaimed Mescal. 

"What a rnagnificent animal!" Jack stared at the splen- 
did picture for the moment before the horse moved back 
along the ridge and disappeared. Other horses, blacks 
and bajw, showed above the sage for a moment, and they, 
too, passed out of sight. 

"He's got some of his band with him," said Jack, thrilled 
with excitement. "Mescal, they're down off the upper 

93 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

range, and grazing along easy. The wind favors us. That 
whistle was just plain fight, judging from what Naab told 
me of wild stallions. He came to the hilltop, and whistled 
down defiance to any horse, wild or tame, that might be 
below. I'll slip round through the cedars, and block the 
trail leading up to the other range, and you and Piute close 
the gate of our trail at this end. Then send Piute down 
to tell Naab we've got Silvermane." 

Jack chose the lowest edge of the plateau rim where the 
cedars were thickest for his detour to get behind the wild 
band; he ran from tree to tree, avoiding the open places, 
taking advantage of the thickets, keeping away from the 
ridge. He had never gone so far as the gate, but, knowing 
where the trail led into a split in the crags, he climbed the 
slope, and threaded a way over masses of fallen clifi; until 
he reached the base of the wall. The tracks of the wild- 
horse band were very fresh and plain in the yellow trail. 
Four stout posts guarded the opening, and a number of 
bars lay ready to be pushed into place. He put them up, 
making a gate ten feet high, an impregnable barrier. This 
done, he hurried back to camp. 

"Jack, BoUy will need more watching to-day than the 
sheep, unless I let her loose. Why, she pulls and strains 
so she'll break that halter." 

"She wants to go with the band; isn't that it ?" 

"I don't like to think so. But Father Naab doesn't trust 
BoUy, though she's the best mustang he ever broke." 

" Better keep her in," replied Jack, remembering Naab's 
warning. " I'll hobble her, so if she does br«ak loose she 
caa'i go for." 

When Mescaf and Jack drove in the sheep that afteraoQij, 

94 



SILVERMANE 

rather earlier than usual, Piute had returned with August 
Naab, Daye, and Billy, a string of mustangs and a pack- 
train of burros. 

"Hello, Mescal," cheerily called August, as they came 
into camp. "Well Jack — bless me! Why, my lad, how 
fine and brown — and yes, how you've filled out!" He 
crushed Jack's hand in his broad palm, and his gray eyes 
beamed. " I've not the gift of revelation — but, Jack, you're 
going to get well." 

"Yes, I — " He had difiiculty with his enunciation^ but 
he thumped his breast significantly and smiled. 

"Black sage and juniper!" exclaimed August. "In this 
air if a man doesn't go off quickly with pneumonia, he'll 
get well. I never had a doubt for you, Jack — and thank 
God!" 

He questioned Piute and Mescal about the sheep, and 
was greatly pleased with their report. He shook his head 
when Jack spread out the grizzly-pelt, and asked for the 
story of the killing. Jack made a poor showing with the 
tale and slighted his share in it, but Mescal told it as it 
actually happened. And Naab's great hand resounded from 
Jack's shoulder. Then, catching sight of the pile of coyote- 
skins under the stone shelf, he gave vent to his surprise and 
delight. Then he came back to the object of his trip upon 
the plateau. 

"So you've corralled Silvermane? Well, Jack, if he| 
doesn't jump over the cliff he's ours. He can't get off any 
other way. How many horses with him f" 

"We had no chance to count. I saw at least twelve." 

"Good! He's out with his picked band. Weren't they 
all blacks and bays ?" 

95 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT . 

"Yes." 

"Jack, the history of that stallion wouldn't make you 
proud of him. We've corralled him by a lucky chance. If 
I don't miss my guess he's after BoUy. He has been a lot of 
trouble to ranchers all the way from the Nevada line across 
Utah. The stallions he's killed, the mares he's led off! 
Well, Dave, shall we thirst him out, or line up a long corral ?" 

"Better have a look around to-morrow," replied Dave. 
"It '11 take a lot of chasing to run him down, but there's not 
a spring on the bench where we can throw up a trap-corral. 
We'll have to chase him." 

"Mescal, has Bolly been good since Silvermane came 
down ?" 

"No, she hasn't," declared Mescal, and told of the cir- 
cumstance. 

"Bolly's all right," said Billy Naab. "Any mustang 
will do that. Keep her belled and hobbled." 

" Silvermane would care a lot about that, if he wanted 
Bolly, wouldn't he ?" queried Dave in quiet scorn. "Keep 
her roped and haltered, I say." 

"Dave's right," said August. "You can't trust a wild 
mustang any more than a wild horse." 

August was right. Black Bolly broke her halter about 
midnight and escaped into the forest, hobbled as she was. 
The Indian heard her first, and he awoke August, who 
aroused the others. 

".Don't make any noise," he said, as Jack came up, 
throwing on his coat. "There's likely to be some fun here 
presently. Bolly's loose, broke her rope, and I think Silver- 
mane is close. Listen sharp now." 

The slight breeze favored them, the camp-fire was 

96 



SILVERMANE 

dead, and the night was clear and starlit. They had 
not been quiet many moments when the shrill neigh of a 
mustang rang out. The Naabs raised themselves and 
looked at one another in the starlight. 
; "Now what do you think of that ?" wnispered Billy. 

"No more than I expected. It was Bolly," replied 
Dave. 

"Bolly it was, confound her black hide!" added August. 
"Now, boys, did she whistle for Silvermane, or to warn him, 
which ?" 

"No telling," answered Billy. "Let's lie low, and take 
a chance on him coming close. It proves one thing — you 
can't break a wild mare. That spirit may sleep in her 
blood, maybe for years, but some time it '11 answer to — " 

"Shut up — listen," interrupted Dave. 

Jack strained his hearing, yet caught no sound, except 
the distant yelp of a coyote. Moments went by. 

"There!" whispered Dave. 

From the direction of the ridge came the faint rattling of 
stones. 

"They're coming," put in Billy. 

Presently sharp clicks preceded the rattles, and the sounds 
began to merge into a regular rhythmic tramp. It softened 
at intervals, probably when the horses were under the 
cedars, and strengthened as they came out on the harder 
ground of the open. 

"I see them," whispered Dave. 

A black, undulating line wound out of the cedars, a line of 
horses approaching with drooping heads, hurrying a little 
as they neared the spring. 

"Twenty-odd, all blacks and bays," said August, "and 

97 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

some of them are mustangs. But where's Silvermane ?— 
hark!" 

Out among the cedars rose the peculiar halting thump 
of a hobbled horse trying to cover ground, followed by 
snorts and crashings of brush and the pound of plunging 
hoofs. The long black line stopped short and began to 
stamp. Then into the starlit glade below moved two 
shadows, the first a great gray horse with snowy mane; the 
second, a small, shiny, black mustang. 

"Silvermane and BoUy!" exclaimed August, "and now 
she's broken her hobbles." 

The stallion, in the fulfilment of a conquest such as had 
made him king of the wild ranges, was magnificent in action. 
Wheeling about her, neighing, and plunging, he arched his 
splendid neck and pushed his head against her. His 
action was that of a master. Suddenly Black BoUy 
snorted and whirled down the glade. Silvermane whistled 
one blast of anger or terror and thundered after her. They 
vanished in the gloom of the cedars, and the band of fright- 
ened horses and mustangs clattered after them. 

"It's one on me," remarked Billy. "That little mare 
played us at the finish. Caught when she was a yearling, 
broken better than any mustang we ever had, she has helped 
us run down many a stallion, and now she runs off with 
that big white-maned brute!" 

"They'll make a team, and if they get out of here we'll 
have to chase them to the Great Salt Basin," replied Dave. 

" Mescal, that's a well-behaved mustang of yours," said 
August; "not only did she break loose, but she whistled 
an alarm to Silvermane and his band. Well, roll in now, 
everybody, and sleep." 

98 



SILVERMANE 

At blreakfast the following day the Naabs fell into a dis- 
cussion upon the possibility of there being other means of 
exit from the plateau than the two trails already closed. 
They had never run any mustangs on the plateau, and in the 
case of a wild horse like Silvermane, who would take des- 
perate chances, it was advisable to know the ground exactly. 
Billy and Dave taking their mounts from the sheep-corfal, 
where they had put them up for the night, rode in opposite 
directions around the rim of the plateau. It was trian- 
gular in shape, and some six or seven miles in circumfer- 
ence; and the brothers rode around it in less than an 
hour. 

"Corralled," said Dave, laconically. 
"Good! Did you see him ? What kind of a bunch has 
he with him ?" asked his father. 

" If we get the pick of the lot it will be worth two weeks' 
work," replied Dave. "I saw him, and Bolly, too. I 
believe we can catch her easily. She was off from the 
bunch, and it looks as though the mares were jealous. I 
think we can run her into a cove under the wall, and get 
her. Then Mescal can help us run down the stallion. 
And you can look out on this end for the best level stretch 
to drop the line of cedars and make our trap." 

The brothers, at their father's nod, rode off into the 
forest. Naab had detained the peon, and now gave him 
orders and sent him off. 

"To-night you can stand on the rim here, and watch him 
signal across to the top of Echo Cliffs to the Wavajos," 
txpizined August to Jack. "I've sent for the best breaker 
of wild mustangs on the desert. Dave can break mustangs, 
and Piute is very good; but I want the best man in the 

99 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

country, because this is a grand horse, and I intend to give 
him to you." 

"To me!" exclaimed Hare. 

"Yes, and if he's broken right at the start, he'll serve you 
faithfully, and not try to bite your arm off every day, or 
kick your brains out. No white man can break a wild 
mustang to the best advantage." 

"Why is that?" 

"I don't know. To be truthful, I have an idea it's bad 
temper and lack of patience. Just wait till you see this 
Navajo go at Silvermane!" 

After Mescal and Piute drove down the sheep, Jack 
sccompanied Naab to the corral. 

"I've brought up your saddle," said Naab, "and you 
can put it on any mustang here." 

What a pleasure It was to be in the saddle again, 
and to feel strength to remain there! He rode with 
August all over the western end of the plateau. They 
came at length to a strip of ground, higher than the border- 
ing forest, which was comparatively free of cedars and 
brush; and when August had surveyed it once he slapped 
his knee with satisfaction. 

"Fine, better than I hoped for! This stretch is about a 
mile long, and narrow at this end. Now, Jack, you see the 
other side faces the rim, this ^ide the forest, and at the end 
here is a wall of rock; luckily it curves in a half circle, which 
will save us work. We'll cut cedars, drag them in line, and 
make a big corral against the rock. From the opening in 
the corral we'll build two fences of trees; then we'll chase 
Silvermane till he's done, run him down into this level, and 
turn him inside the fence. No horse can break through a 

100 



SILVERMANE 

close line of cedars. He'll run till he's in the corral, and. 
then we'll rope him." 

"Great!" said Jack, all enthusiasm. "But isn't it going 
to take a lot of work ?" 

"Rather," said August, diyly. "It'll take a week to cut 
and drag the cedars, let alone to tire out that wild stallioa 
When the finish comes you want to be on that ledge where 
we'll have the corral." 

They returned to camp and prepared supper. Mescal 
and Piute soon arrived, and, later, Dave and Billy on jaded 
mustangs. Black Bolly limped behind, stretching a long 
halter, an unhappy mustang with dusty, foam-stained 
coat and hanging head. 

"Not bad," said August, examining the lame leg. "She'll 
be fit in a few days, long before we need her to help run 
down Silvermane. Bring the liniment and a cloth, one of 
you, and put her in the sheep-corral to-riight." 

Mescal's love for the mustang shone in her eyes while she 
smoothed out the crumpled mane, and petted the slender 
heck. 

"Bolly, to think you'd do it!" And Bolly dropped her 
head as though really ashamed. 

When darkness fell they gathered on the rim to watch 
the signals. A fire blazed out of the black void below, and 
as they waited it brightened and flamed higher. 

"Ugh!" said Piute, pointing across to the dark line of cliffs. 

"Of course he'd see it first," laughed Naab. "Dave, 
have you caught it yet? Jack, see if you can make out a 
fire over on Echo Cliffs." 

"No, I don't see any light, except that white star. Have 
you seen it ?" 

lOI 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"Long ago," replied Naab. "Here, sight along my 
finger, and narrow your eyes down." 

"I believe I see it — ^yes, I'm sure." 

"Good. How about you, Mescal ?" 

"Yes," she replied. 

Jack was amused, for Dave insisted that he had been 
next to the Indian, and Billy claimed priority to all of them. 
To these men bred on the desert keen sight was preemi- 
nently the chief of gifts. 

"Jack, look sharp!" said August, "Peon is blanketing 
his fire. See the flicker ? One, two — one, two — one. Now 
for the answer." 

Jack peered out into the shadowy space, star-studded 
above, ebony below. Far across the depths shone a pin- 
point of steady light. The Indian grunted again, August 
vented his "ha!" and then Jack saw the light blink like a 
star, go out for a second, and blink again. 

"That's what I like to see," said August. "We're an- 
swered. Now all's over but the work." 

Work it certainly was, as Jack discovered next day. He 
helped the brothers cut down cedars while August hauled 
them into line with his roan. What with this labor and the 
necessary camp duties nearly a week passed, and in the 
mean time Black Bolly recovered from her lameness. Twice 
the workers saw Silvermane standing on open high ridges, 
restive and suspicious, with his silver mane flying, and his 
head turned over his shoulder, watching, always watching. 

"It'd be worth something to find out how long that 
stallion could go without water," commented Dave. "But 
we'll make his tongue hang out to-morrow. It 'd serve him 
right to break him with Black Bolly." 

102 



SILVERMANE 

Daylight came warm and misty; veils unrolled from the 
desert; a purple curtain lifted from the eastern crags; then 
the red sun burned. 

Dave and Billy Naab mounted their mustangs, and each 
led another mount by a halter. 

"We'll go to the ridge, cut Silvermane out of his band 
and warm him up; then we'll drive him down to this end." 

Hare, in his eagerness, found the time very tedious while 
August delayed about camp, punching new holes in his 
saddle-girth, shortening his stirrups, and smoothing kinks 
out of his lasso. At last he saddled the roan, and also 
Black BoUy. Mescal came out of her tent ready for the 
chase; she wore a short skirt of buckskin, and leggings of 
the same material. Her hair, braided, and fastened at the 
back, was bound by a double band closely fitting her black 
head. Hare walked, leading two mustangs by the hakers, 
and Naab and Mescal rode, each of them followed by 
two other spare mounts. August tied three mustangs at 
one point along the level stretch, and three at another. 
Then he led Mescal and Jack to the top of the stone wall 
above the corral, where they had good view of a considerable 
part of the plateau. 

The eastern rise of ground, a sage and juniper slope, 
was in plain sight. Hare saw a white flash; then 
Silvermane broke out of the cedars into the sage. One 
of the brothers raced him half the length of the slope, and 
then the other coming out headed him oflF down toward 
the forest. Soon the pounding of hoofs sounded through 
the trees nearer and nearer. Silvermane came oat straight 
ahead on the open level. He was running eas^. 

"{le hasn't opened up yet," sard August. 

103 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Hare watched the stallion with sheer fascination. He 
ran seemingly without effort. What a stride he had! how 
beautifully his silver mane waved in the wind! He veered 
off to the left, out of sight in the brush, while Dave and 
Billy galloped up to the spot where August had tied the 
first three mustangs. Here they dismounted, changed 
saddles to fresh horses, and were off again. 

The chase now was close and all down-hill for the watch- 
ers. Silvermane twinkled in and out among the cedars, 
and suddenly stopped short on the rim. He wheeled 
and coursed away toward the crags, and vanished. But 
soon he reappeared, for Billy had cut across and faced him 
about. Again he struck the level stretch. Dave was there 
in front of him. He shot away to the left, and flashed 
through the glades beyond. The brothers saved their 
steeds, content to keep him cornered in that end of the 
plateau. Then August spurred his roan into the scene of 
action. Silvermane came out on the one piece of rising 
ground beyond the level, and stood looking backward tow- 
ard the brothers. When the great roan crashed through 
the thickets into his sight he leaped as if he had been stung, 
and plunged away. 

The Naabs had hemmed him in a triangle, Dave and 
Billy at the broad end, August at the apex, and now the real 
race began. August chased him up and down, along the 
rim, across to the long line of cedars, always in the end 
heading him for the open stretch. Down this he fled with 
flying tnane, only to be checked by the relentless brothers. 
To cover this broad end of the open required riding the like 
of which Hare had never dreamed of. The brothers, tak- 
ing advantage of the brief periods when the stallion was 

104 



SILVERMANE 

going toward August, changed their tired mustangs for 
fresh ones. 

"Ho! Mescal!" rolled out August's voice. That was the 
call for Mescal to put Black Bolly after Silvermane. Her 
fleetness made the other mustangs seem slow. All in a 
flash she was round the corral, with Silvermane between her 
and the long fence of cedars. Uttering a piercing snort 
of terror the gray stallion lunged out, for the first time panic- 
stricken, and lengthened his stride in a wonderful way. He 
raced down the stretch with his head over his shoulder, 
watching the little black. Seeing her gaining, he burst into 
desperate headlong flight. He saved nothing; he had 
found his match; he won that first race down the level, 
but it had cost him his best. If he had been fresh he might 
have left Black Bolly far behind, but now he could not 
elude her. 

August Nakb let him run this time, and Silvermane, keep- 
ing close to the fence, passed the gate, ran down to the rim, 
and wheeled. The black mustang was on him again, hold- 
ing him in close to the fence, driving him back down the 
stretch. 

The brothers remorselessly turned him, and now Mescal, 
forcing the running, caught him, lashed his haunches with 
her whip, and drove him into the gate of the corral. 

August and his two sons were close behind, and blocked 
the gate. Silvermane's race was nearly run. 

"Hold here, boys," said August. "I'll go in and drive 
him round and round till he's done, then, when I yell, you 
stand aside and rope him as he comes out." 

Silvermane ran round the corral, tore at the steep scaly 
walls, fell back and began his weary round again and yet 

105 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

again. Then as sense and courage yielded gradually to 
unreasoning terror, he ran blindly; every time he passed 
the guarded gateway his eyes were wilder, and his stride 
more labored. 

"Now!" yelled August Naab. 

Mescal drew out of the opening, and Dave and Billy 
pulled away, one on each side, their lassoes swinging loosely. 

Silvermane sprang for the opening with something 
of his old speed. As he went through, yellow loops 
flashed in the sun, circling, narrowing, and he seemed to 
run straight into them. One loop whipped close round his 
glossy neck; the other caught his head. Dave's mustang 
staggered under the violent shock, went to his knees, 
struggled up and held firmly. Bill's mount slid on his 
haunches and spilled his rider from the saddle. Silvermane 
seemed to be climbing into the air. Then August Naab, 
darting through the gate in a cloud of dust, shot his lasso, 
catching the right foreleg. Silvermane landed hard, his 
hoofs striking fire from the stones; and for an instant 
strained in convulsive struggle; then fell heaving and groan- 
ing. In a twinkling Billy loosened his lasso over a knot, 
making of it a halter, and tied the end to a cedar stump. 

The Naabs stood back and gazed at their prize. 

Silvermane was badly spent; he was wet with foam, but 
no fleck of blood marred his mane; his superb coat showed 
scratches, but none cut into the flesh. After a while he 
rose, panting heavily, and trembling in every muscle. He 
was a beaten horse; the noble head was bowed; yet he 
showed no viciousness, only the fear of a trapped animal. 
He eyed Black Bolly and then the halter, as though he had 
divined the fatal connection between them. 

106 



VIII 

THE BREAKER OF WILD MUSTANGS 

FOR a few days after the capture of Silvermane, a time 
*full to the brim of excitement for Hare, he had no 
word with Mescal, save for morning and evening greetings. 
When he did come to seek her, with a purpose which had 
grown more impelling since August Naab's arrival, he 
learned to his bewilderment that she avoided him. She 
gave him no chance to speak with her alone; her accustomed 
resting-place on the rim at sunset knew her no more; early 
after supper she retired to her tent. 

Hare nursed a grievance for forty-eight hours, and then, 
taking advantage of Piute's absence on an errand down to 
the farm, and of the Naabs' strenuous day with four vicious 
wild horses in the corral at one time, he walked out to the 
pasture where Mescal shepherded the flock. 

"Mescal, why are you avoiding me ?" he asked. "What 
has happened ?" 

She looked tired and unhappy, and her gaze, instead of 
meeting his, wandered to the crags. 

"Nothing," she replied. 

"But there must be something. You have given me no 
chance to talk to you, and I wanted to know if you'd let 
me speak to Father Naab." 

"To Father Naab ? Why— what about V 
ft, 107 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"About you, of course — and me — that I love you and 
want to marry you." 

She turned white. "No| — ^no!" 

Hare paused blankly, not so much at her refusal as at the 
unmistakable fear in her face. 

"Why — not ?" he asked presently, with an odd sense of 
trouble. There was more here than Mescal's habitual 
shjmess. 

" Because he'll be terribly angry." 

"Angry — I don't understand. Why angry ?" 

The girl did not answer, and looked so forlorn that Hare 
attempted to take her in his arms. She resisted and broke 
from him. 

"You must never — never do that again." 

Hare drew back sharply. 

"Why not? What's wrong? You must tell me, Mescal." 

"I remembered." She hung her head. 

"Remembered — ^what ?" 

"I am pledged to marry Father Naab's eldest son." 

For a moment Hare did not understand. He stared at 
her unbelievingly. 

"What did you say ?" he asked, slowly. 

Mescal repeated her words in a whisper. 

"But — but Mescal^rl love you. You let me kiss you," 
said Hare stupidly, as if he did not grasp her meaning. 
"You let me kiss you," he repeated. 

"Oh, Jack, I forgot," she wailed. "It was so new, so 
strange, to have you up here. It was like a kind of dream. 
And after — after you kissed me I — I found out — " 

"What, Mescal?" 

Her silence answered him. 

io8 



THE BREAKER OF WILD MUSTANGS 

"But, Mescal, if you really love me you can't marry 
any one else," said Hare. It was the simple persistence of 
a simple swain. 

"Oh, you don't know, you don't know. It's impossible !" 

"Impossible!" Hare's anger flared up. "You let me 
bejieve I had won you. What kind of a girl are you? You 
Wete not true. Your actions were lies." 

"Not lies," she faltered, and turned her face from him. 

iWith no gentle hand he grasped her arm and forced her 
to look at him. But the misery in her eyes overcame him, 
and he roughly threw his arms around her and held her 
close. 

"It can't be a lie. You do care for me — love me. Look 
at me." He drew her head back from his breast. Her 
face was pale and drawn; her eyes closed tight, with tears 
forcing a way out under the long lashes; her lips were 
pairted. He bowed to their sweet nearness; he kissed them 
again and again, while the shade of the cedars seemed to 
■whhl about him. " I love you. Mescal. You are mine — I 
will have you — I will keep you — I will not let him have you 1" 

She vibrated to that like a keen strung wire under a strong 
touch. All in a flash the trembling, shame-stricken girl 
was transformed. She leaned back in his arms, supple, 
pliant with quivering life, and for the first time gave him 
wide-open level eyes, in which there were now no tears, 
no shyness, no fear, but a dark smouldering fire. 

"You do love me, Mescal ?" 

"I— I couldn't help it." 

There was a pause, tense with feeling. 

"Mescal, tell me — about your being pledged," he said, 
at last. 

log 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"I gave him my promise because there was nothing else 
to do. I was pledged to — ^to him in the church at White 
Sage. It can't be changed. I've got to mariy — Father 
Naab's eldest son." 

"Eldest son?" echoed Jack, suddenly mindful of the 
implication. "Why! that's Snap Naab. Ah! I begin to 
see light. That— Mescal— " 

"I hate him." 

"You hate him and you're pledged to marry him! . . . 
God! Mescal, I'd utterly forgotten Snap Naab already 
has a wife." 

"You've also forgotten that we're Mormons." 

"Are you a Mormon ?" he queried bluntly. 

"I've been raised as one." 

"That's not an answer. Are you one ? Do you believe 
any man under God's sky ought to have more than one wife 
at a time ?" 

"No. But I've been taught that it gave woman greater 
gloiy in heaven. There have been men here before you, 
men who talked to me, and I doubted before I ever saw 
you. And afterward — I knew." 

"Would not Father Naab release you ?" 

"Release me ? Why, he would have taken me as a wife 
for himself but for Mother Mary. She hates me. So he 
pledged me to Snap." 

"Does August Naab love you ?" 

"Love me? No. Not in the way you mean — perhaps 
as a daughter. But Mormons teach duty to church first, 
and say such love comes — to the wives — afterward. But 
it doesn't — ^not in the women I've seen. There's Mother 
Ruth-^er heart is broken. She loves me, and I can tell." 

no 



THE BREAKER OF WILD MUSTANGS 

"When was this — this marriage to be ?" 

"I don't know. Father Naab promised me to his son 
when he came home from the Navajo range. It would be 
soon if they found out that you and I — Jack, Snap Naab 
would kill you!" 

The sudden thought startled the girl. Her eyes betrayed 
her terror. 

"I mightn't be so easy to kill," said Hare, darkly. The 
words came unbidden, his first answer to the wild influences 
about him. "Mescal, I'm sorry — maybe I've brought you 
unhappiness." 

"No. No. To be with you has been like sitting there 
on the rim watching the desert, the greatest happiness I 
have ever known. I used to love to be with the children, 
but Mother Mary forbade. When I am down there, which 
is seldom, I'm not allowed to play with the children any 
more." 

"What can I do ?" asked Hare, passionately. 
' "Don't speak to Father Naab. Don't let him guess. 
Don't leave me here alone," she answered low. It was not 
the Navajo speaking in her now. Love had sounded depths 
hitherto unplumbed; a quick, soft impulsiveness made the 
contrast sharp and vivid. 

"How can I help but leave you if he wants me on the 
cattle ranges ?" 

"I don't know. You must think. He has been so 
pleased with what you've done. He's had Mormons up 
here, and two men not of his Church, and they did nothing. 
You've been ill, besides you're different. He will keep me 
with the sheep as long as he can, for two reasons — be- 
cause I drive them best, he says, and because Snap 

III 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Naab's wife must be persuaded to welcome me in her 
home." 

"I'll stay, if I have to get a relapse and go down on my 
,back again," declared Jack. "I hate to deceive him, but 
Mescal, pledged or not — I love you, and I won't give up 
hope." 

Her hands flew to her face again and tried to hide the dark 
blush. 

"Mescal, there's one question I wish you'd answer. Does 
August Naab think he'll make a Mormon of me ? Is that 
the secret of his wonderful kindness ?" 

"Of course he believes he'll make a Mormon of you. 
That's his religion. He's felt that way over all the strangers 
who ever came out here. But he'd be the same to them 
without his hopes. I don't know the secret of his kindness, 
but I think he loves everybody and everything. And Jack, 
he's so good. I owe him all my life. He would not let 
the Navajos take me; he raised me, kept me, taught me. 
I can't break my promise to him. He's been a father to me, 
and I love him." 

"I think I love him, too," replied Hare, simply. 

With an effort he left her at last and mounted the grassy 
slope and climbed high up among the tottering yellow 
crags; and there he battled with himself. Whatever the 
charm of Mescal's surrender, and the insistence of his love, 
stem hammer-strokes of fairness, duty, honor, beat into 
his brain his debt to the man who had saved him. It was 
a long-drawn-out battle not to be won merely by saying 
right was right. He loved Mescal, she loved him; and 
something bom in him with his new health, with the breath 
of this sage and juniper forest, with the sight of purple caii- 

112 



THE BREAKER OF WILD MUSTANGS 

ons and silent beckoning (iesert, made him fiercely tena- 
cious of all that life had come to mean for him. He could 
not give her up — and yet — 

Twilight forced Hare from his lofty retreat, and he trod 
his way campward, weary and jaded, but victorious 
over himself. He thought he had renounced his hope of 
Mescal; he returned with a resolve to be true to August, 
and to himself; bitterness he would not allow himself to 
feel. And yet he feared the rising in him of a new spirit akin 
to that of the desert itself, intractable and free. 

"Well, Jack, we rode down the last of Silvermane's 
band," said August, at supper. "The Navajos came up 
and helped us out. To-morrow you'll see some fun, when 
we start to break Silvermane. As soon as that's done I'll 
go, leaving the Indians to bring the horses down when 
they're broken." 

"Are you going to leave Silvermane with me?" asked 
Jack. 

" Surely. Why, in three days, if I don't lose my guess, 
he'll be like a lamb. Those desert stallions can be made 
into the finest kind of saddle-horses. I've seen one or two. 
I want you to stay up here with the sheep. You're getting 
well, you'll soon be a strapping big fellow. Then when we 
drive the sheep down in the fall you can begin life on the 
cattle ranges, driving wild steers. There's where you'll 
grow lean and hard, like an iron bar. You'll need that 
horse, too, my lad." 

"Why — because he's fast?" queried Jack, quickly an- 
swering to the implied suggestion. ■ 

August nodded gloomily. "I haven't the gift of revela- 
tion, but I've come to believe Martin Cole. Holdemess is 

113 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

building an outpost for his riders close to Seeping Springs. 
He has no water. If he tries to pipe my water — " The 
pause was not a threat; it impHed the Mormon's^ doubt of 
himself. "Then Dene is on the march this way. He's 
driven some of Marshall's cattle from the range next to 
mine. Dene got away with about a hundred head. The 
barefaced robber sold them in Lund to a buying company 
from Salt Lake." 

"Is he openly an outlaw, a rustler?" inquired Hare. 

"Everybody knows it, and he's finding White Sage and 
vicinity warmer than it was. Every time he comes in he 
and his band shoot up things pretty lively. Now the Mor- 
mons are slow to wrath. But they are awakening. All 
the way from Salt Lake to the border outlaws have come in. 
They'll never get the power on this desert that they had 
in the places from which they've been driven. Men of the 
Holdemess type are more to be dreaded. He's a rancher, 
greedy, unscrupulous, but hard to comer in dishonesty. 
Dene is only a bad man, a gun-fighter. He and all his 
ilk will get run out of Utah. Did you ever hear of 
Plummer, John Slade, Boone Helm, any of those bad 
men ?" 

"No." 

"Well, they were men to fear. Plummer was a sheriff 
in Idaho, a man high in the estimation of his townspeople, 
but he was the leader of the most desperate band of crimi- 
nals ever known in the West; and he instigated the murder 
of, or killed outright, more than one hundred men. Slade 
was a bad man, fatal on the draw. Helm was a killing- 
machine. These men all tried Utah, and had to get out. 
So will Dene have to get out. But I'm afraid there'll be 

114 



THE BREAKER OF WILD MUSTANGS 

warm times before that happens. When you get in the 
thick of it you'll appreciate Silvermane." 

"I surely will. But I can't see that wild stallion with a 
saddle and a bridle, eating oats like any common horse, 
and being led to water." 

"Well, he'll come to your whistle, presently, if I'm not 
greatly mistaken. You must make him love you. Jack. 
It can be done with any wild creature. Be gentle, but 
firm. Teach him to obey the slightest touch of rein, to 
stand when you throw your bridle on the ground, to come 
at your whistle. Always remember this. He's a desert- 
bred horse; he can live on scant browse and little water. 
Never break him of those best virtues in a horse. Never 
feed him grain if you can find a little patch of browse; 
never give him a drink till he needs it. That's one-tenth 
as often as a tame horse. Some day you'll be caught in 
the desert, and with these qualities of endurance Silver- 
mane will carry you out." 

Silvermane snorted defiance from the cedar corral next 
morning when the Naabs, and Indians, and Hare appear- 
ed. A half-naked sinewy Navajo with a face as changeless 
as a bronze mask sat astride August's blindfolded roan. 
Charger. He rode bareback except for a blanket strapped 
upon the horse; he carried only a long, thick halter, with a 
loop and a knot. When August opened the improvised gate, 
with its sharp bayonet-like branches of cedar, the Indian 
rode into the corral. The watchers climbed to the knoll. 
Silvermane snorted a blast of fear and anger. August's huge 
roan showed uneasiness; he stamped, and shook his head, 
as if to rid himself of the blinders. 

Into the farthest comer of densely packed cedar boughs 
"5 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Silvermane pressed himself and watched. The Indian 
rode around the corral, circling closer and closer, yet ap- 
pearing not to see the stallion. Many rounds he made; 
closer he got, and always with the same steady gait. Silver- 
mane left his comer and tried another. The old unwearying 
round brought Charger and the Navajo close by him. Sil- 
vermane pranced out of his thicket of boughs; he whistled; 
he wheeled with his shiny hoofs lifting. In an hour the 
Indian was edging the outer circle of the corral, with the 
stallion pivoting in the centre, ears laid back, eyes shooting 
sparks, fight in every line of him. And the circle narrowed 
inward. 

Suddenly the Navajo sent the roan at Silvermane and 
threw his halter. It spread out like a lasso, and the loop 
went over the head of the stallion, slipped to the knot and 
held fast, while the rope tightened. Silvermane leaped up, 
forehoofs pawing the air, and his long shrill cry was neither 
whistle, snort, nor screech, but all combined. He came 
down, missing Charger with his hoofs, sliding off his 
haunches. The Indian, his bronze muscles rippling, close- 
hauled on the rope, making half hitches round his bony 
wrist. 

In a whirl of dust the roan drew closer to the gray, and 
Silvermane began a mad race around the corral. The roan 
ran with him nose to nose. When Silvermane saw he could 
not shake him, he opened his jaws, rolled back his lip in zu 
ugly snarl, his white teeth glistening, and tried to bite. But 
the Indian's moccasined foot shot up under the staY.iOn's 
ear and pressed him back. Then the roan hugged Silver- 
mane so close that half the time the Navajo virtually rode 
two horses. But for the rigidity of his arms, and the play 

Ii6 



THE BREAKER OF WILD MUSTANGS 

and sudden tension of hi& leg-muscles^ the Indian's work 
would have appeared coram «:\place, so dexterous was he, 
so perfectly at home in his dangerous seat. Suddenly he 
whooped and August Naab hauled back the gate, and the two 
horses, neck and neck, thundered out upon the level stretchy 

"Good!" cried August. "Let him rip now, Navvy. All 
over but the work. Jack. I feared Silvermane would spear 
himself on some of those dead cedar spikes in the corral. 
He's safe now." 

Jack watched the horses plunge at breakneck speed 
down the stretch, circle at the forest edge, and come tearing 
back. Silvermane was pulling the roan faster than he had 
ever gone in his life, but the dark Indian kept his graceful 
seat. The speed slackened on the second turn, and de* 
creased as, mile after mile, the imperturbable Indian held 
roan and gray side to side and let them run. 

The time passed, but Hare's interest in the breaking of 
the stallion never flagged. He began to understand the 
Indian, and to feel what the restraint and drag must be to 
the horse. Never for a moment could Silvermane elude 
the huge roan, the tight halter, the relentless Navajo. 
Gallop fell to trot, and trot to jog, and jog to walk; and 
hour by hour, without whip or spur or word, the breaker 
of desert mustangs drove the wild stallion. If there were 
cruelty it was in his implacable slow patience, his far* 
sighted purpose. Silvermane would have killed himself 
in an hour; he would have cut himself to pieces in one 
headlong dash, but that steel arm sufi^ered him only to wear 
himself out. Late that afternoon the Navajo led a drip- 
ping, drooping, foam-lashed stallion into the corral, tied him 
with the halter, and left him. 

117 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Later Silvermane drank of ;Aie water poured into the 
corral trough, and had nj>i' the strength or spirit to 
resent the Navajo's caressing hand on his mane. 

Next morning the Indian rode again into the corral on 
blindfolded Charger. Again he dragged Silvermane out on 
the level and drove him up and down with remorseless, 
machine-like persistence. At noon he took him back, tied 
him up, and roped him fast. Silvermane tried to rear and 
kick, but the saddle went on, strapped with a flash of the 
dark-skinned hands. Then again Silvermane ran the level 
stretch beside the giant roan, only he carried a saddle now. 
At the first, he broke out with free wild stride as if to run 
forever from under the hateful thing. But as the afternoon 
waned he crept weariedly back to the corral. 

On the morning of the third day the Navajo went into 
the corral without Charger, and roped the gray, tied him 
fast, and saddled him. Then he loosed the lassoes except 
the one around Silvermane's neck, which he whipped under 
his foreleg to draw him down. Silvermane heaved a groan 
which plainly said he never wanted to rise again. Swiftly 
the Indian knelt on the stallion's head; his hands flashed; 
there was a scream, a click of steel on bone; and proud 
Silvermane jumped to his feet with a bit between his teeth. 

The Navajo, firmly in the saddle, rose with him, and Sil- 
vermane leaped through the corral gate, and out upon the 
stretch, lengthening out with every stride, and settling into 
a wild, despairing burst of speed. The white mane waved 
in the wind; the half-naked Navajo swayed to the motion. 
Horse and rider disappeared in the cedars. 

They were gone all day. Toward night they appeared 
on the stretch. The Indian rode into camp and, dismount- 

118 



THE BREAKER OF WILD MUSTANGS 

ing, handed the bridle-rein to Naab. He spoke no word; 
his dark impassiveness invited no comment. Sllvermane 
was dust-covered and sweat-stained. His silver crest had 
the same proud beauty, his neck still the splendid arch, his 
head the noble outline, but his was a broken spirit. 

"Here, my lad," said August Naab, throwing the bridle^ 
rein over Hare's arm, "What did I say once about seeing 
you on a great gray horse ? Ah ! Well, take him and knov» 
this: you've the swiftest horse in this desert country." 



IX 

THE SCENT OF DESERT-WATER 

SOON the shepherds were left to a quiet unbroken by 
the whistle of wild mustangs, the whoop of hunters, the 
ring of iron-shod hoofs on the stones. The scream of an 
eagle, the bleating of sheep, the bark of a coyote were once 
more the only familiar sounds accentuating the silence of 
the plateau. For Hare, time seemed to stand still. He 
thought but little; his whole life was a matter of feeling 
from without. He rose at dawn, never failing to see the red 
sun tip the eastern crags; he glowed with the touch of cold 
spring-water and the morning air; he trailed Silvermane 
under the cedars and thrilled when the stallion, answering 
his call, thumped the ground with hobbled feet and came 
his way, learning day by day to be glad at sight of his master. 
He rode with Mescal behind the flock; he hunted hour by 
hour, crawling over the fragrant brown mats of cedar, 
through the sage and juniper, up the grassy slopes. He 
rode back to camp beside Mescal, drove the sheep, and put 
Silvermane to his fleetest to beat Black Bolly down the level 
stretch where once the gray, even with freedom at stake, 
had lost to the black. Then back to camp and fire and 
curling blue smoke, a supper that testified to busy Piute's 
farmward trips, sunset on the rim, endless changing desert, 
the wind in the cedars, bright stars in the blue, and sleep — 
so time stood still. 

I20 



THE SCENT OF DESERT-WATER 

Mescal and Hare were together, or never far apart, from 
dawn to night. Until the sheep were in the corral, every 
moment had its duty, from camp-work and care of horses 
to the many problems of the flock, so that they earned the 
rest on the rim-wall at sundown. Only a touch of hands 
bridged the chasm between them. They never spoke of 
their love, of Mescal's future, of Jack's return to health; 
a glance and a smile, scarcely sad yet not altogether happy, 
was the substance of their dream. Where Jack had once 
talked about the canon and desert, he now seldom spoke 
at all. From watching Mescal he had learned that to see 
was enough. But there were moments when some associa- 
tion recalled the past and the strangeness of the present 
faced him. Then he was wont to question Mescal. 

"What are you thinking of?" he asked, curiously, inter- 
rupting their silence. She leaned against the rocks and 
kept a changeless, tranquil, unseeing gaze on the desert. 
The level eyes were full of thought, of sadness, of mystery; 
they seemed to look afar. 

Then she turned to him with puzzled questioning look 
and enigmatical reply. "Thinking?" asked her eyes. "I 
wasn't thinking," were her words. 

"I fancied — I don't know exactly what," he went on. 
"You looked so earnest. Do you ever think of going to the 
Navajos ?" 

"No." 

"Or across that Painted Desert to find some place you 
seem to know, or see ?" 

"No." 

" I don't know why, but, Mescal, sometimes I have the 
queerest ideas when I catch your eyes watching, watching. 

121 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

You look at once happy and sad. You see soniething out 
there that I can't see. Your eyes are haunted. I've a 
feeling that if I'd look into them I'd see the sun setting, the 
clouds coloring, the twilight shadows changing; and then 
back of that the secret of it all — of you — Oh! I can't ex' 
plain, but it seems so." 

"I never had a secret, except the one you know," she 
answered. "You ask me so often what I think about, 
and you always ask me when we're here." She was silent 
for a pause. "I don't think at all till you make me. It's 
beautiful out there. But that's not what it is to me. I can't 
tell you. When I sit down here all within me is — is some- 
how stilled. I watch — and it's different from what it is now, 
«ince you've made me think. Then I watch, and I see, 
that's all." 

It came to Hare afterward with a little start of surprise 
that Mescal's purposeless, yet all-satisfying, watchful gaze 
had come to be part of his own experience. It was in- 
scrutable to him, but he got from it a fancy, which he tried 
in vain to dispel, that something would happen to them out 
there on the desert. 

And then he realized that when they returned to the 
camp-fire they seemed freed from this spell of the 
desert. The blaze-lit circle was shut in by the darkness; 
and the immensity of their wild environment, because 
for the hour it could not be seen, lost its paralyzing 
effect. Hare fell naturally into a talkative mood. Mescal 
had developed a vivacity, an ambition which contrasted 
strongly with her silent moods; she became alive and 
curious, human like the girls he had known in the East, 
and she fascinated him the more for this complexity. 

122 



THE SCENT OF DESERT-WATER 

The July rains did not come; the mists failed; the dews 
no longer freshened the grass, and the hot sun began to tell 
on shepherds and sheep. Both sought the shade. The 
flowers withered first — all the blue-bells and lavender 
patches of primrose, and pale -yellow lilies, and white 
thistle-blossoms. Only the deep magenta of cactus and 
vermilion of Indian paint-brush, flowers of the sun, sur- 
vived the heat. Day by day the shepherds scanned the 
sky for storm-clouds that did not appear. The spring ran 
lower and lower. At last the ditch that carried water to the 
corral went dry, and the margin of the pool began to retreat. 
Then Mescal sent Piute down for August Naab. 

He arrived at the plateau the next day with Dave and at 
once ordered the breaking up of camp. 

"It will rain some time," he said, "but we can't wait any 
longer. Dave, when did you last see the Blue Star water- 
hole ?" 

"On the trip in from Silver Cup, ten days ago. The 
waterhole was full then." 

"Will there be water enough now?" 

"We've got to chance it. There's no water here, and no 
springs on the upper range where we can drive sheep; we've 
got to go round under the Star." 

"That's so," replied August. His fears needed con- 
firmation, because his hopes always influenced his judgment 
till no hope was left. "I wish I had brought Zeke and 
George. It'll be a hard drive, though we've got Jack and 
Mescal to help." 

Hot as it was August Naab lost no time in the start. 
Piute led the train on foot, and the flock, used to following 
him, got under way readily. Dave and Mescal rode along 
9 123 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

the sides, and August with Jack came behind, with the 
pack-burros bringing up the rear. Wolf circled them all, 
keeping the flanks close in, heading the lambs thai 
strayed, and, ever vigilant, made the drive orderly an# 
rapid. 

The trail to the upper range was wide and easy of ascent, 
the first of it winding under crags, the latter part climbing 
long slopes. It forked before the summit, where dark pine- 
trees showed against the sky, one fork ascending, the other, 
which Piute took, beginning to go down. It admitted of no 
extended view, being shut in for the most part on the left, 
but there were times when Hare could see a curving stream 
of sheep on half a mile of descending trail. Once started 
down the flock could not be stopped, that was as plain as 
Piute's hard task. There were times when Hare could 
have tossed ^ pebble on the Indian just below him, yet 
there were more than three thousand sheep, strung out in 
line between them. Clouds of dus rolled up, sheets of 
gravel and shale rattled down the inclines, the clatter, 
clatter, clatter of little hoofs, the steady baa-baa-baa filled 
the air. Save for the crowding of lambs olF the trail, and a 
jamming of sheep in the comers, the drive went on without 
mishap. Hare was glad to see the lambs scramble back 
bleating for their mothers, and to note that, though peril 
threatened at every steep turn, the steady downflow always 
made space for the sheep behind. He was glad, too, when 
through a wide break ahead his eye followed the face of a 
vast cliff down to the red ground below, and he knew the 
flock would soon be safe on the level. 

A blast as from a furnace smote Hare from this open 
break in the wall. The air was dust-laden, and carried 

124 



THE SCENT OF DESERT-WATEH 

besides the smell of dust and the warm breath of desert 
growths, a dank odor that was unpleasant. 

The sheep massed in a flock on the level, and the drivers 
spread to their places. The route lay under projecting red 
cliffs, between the base and enormous sections of wall that 
had broken oflF and fallen far out. There was no weather- 
ing slope; the wind had carried away the smaller stones 
and particles, and had cut the huge pieces of pinnacle and 
tower into hollowed forms. This zone of rim merged into 
another of strange contrast, the sloping red stream of sand 
which flowed from the wall of the canon. 

Piute swung the flock up to the left into an amphi- 
theatre, and there halted. The sheep formed a densely 
packed mass in the curve of the wall. Dave Naab galloped 
back toward August and Hare, and before he reached them 
shouted out: "The waterhole's plugged!" 

"What ?" yelled his father. 

"Plugged, filled with stone and sand." 

"Was it a cave-in ?" 

"I reckon not. There's been no rain." 

August spurred his roan after Dave, and Hare kept close 
behind them, till they reined in on a muddy bank. What 
had once been a waterhole was a red and yellow heap of 
shale, fragments of stones, gravel, and sand. There was 
no water, and the sheep were bleating. August dismounted 
and climbed high above the hole to examine the slope; soon 
he strode down with giant steps, his huge fists clinched, 
shaking his gray mane like a lion. 

"I've found the tracks! Somebody climbed up and 
rolled the stones, started the cave-in. Who?" 

"Holdemess's men. They did the same for Martin 
' 125 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Cole's waterhole at Rocky Point. How old are the 
tracks ?" 

"Two days, perhaps. We can't follow them. What can 
be done ?" 

I "Some of Holderness's men are Mormons, and others 
are square fellows. They wouldn't stand for such work as 
this, and somebody ought to ride in there and tell them." 

"And get shot up by the men paid to do the dirty work- 
No. I won't hear of it. This amounts to nothing; we 
seldom use this hole, only twice a year when driving the 
flock. But it makes me fear for Silver Cup and Seeping 
Springs." 

"It makes me fear for the sheep, if this wind doesn't 
change." 

"Ah! I had forgotten the river scent. It's not strong 
to-night. We might venture if it wasn't for the strip of 
sand. We'll camp here and start the drive at dawn." 

The sun went down under a crimson veil; a dull glow 
spread, fan-shaped, upward; twilight faded to darkness 
with the going down of the wind. August Naab paced to 
and fro before his tired and thirsty flock. 

"I'd like to know," said Hare to Dave, "why those men 
filled up this waterhole." 

"Holderness wants to cut us off from Silver Cup Spring, 
and this was a half-way waterhole. Probably he didn't 
know we had the sheep upland, but he wouldn't have cared. 
He's set himself to get our cattle range and he'll stop at 
nothing. Prospects look black for us. Father never gives 
up. He doesn't believe yet that we can lose our water. 
He prays and hopes, and sees good and mercy in his worst 
enemies," 



THE SCENT OF DESERT-WATER 

"If Holdemess works as far as Silver Cup, how will he 
go to work to steal another man's range and water ?" 

"He'll throw up a cabin, send in his men, drive in ten 
thousand steers." 

"Well, will his men try to keep you away from your own 
water, or your cattle ?" 

"Not openly. They'll pretend to welcome us, and drive 
our cattle away in our absence. You see there are only 
five of us to ride the ranges, and we'd need five times five 
to watch all the stock." 

"Then you can't stop this outrage ?" 

"There's only one way," said Dave, significantly tapping 
the black handle of his Colt. "Holderness thinks he pulls 
the wool over our eyes by talking of the cattle company 
that employs him. He's the company himself, and he's 
hand and glove with Dene." 

"And I suppose, if your father and you boys were to ride 
over to Holdemess's newest stand, and tell him to get off", 
there would be a fight." 

"We'd never reach him now, that is, if we went together. 
One of us alone might get to see him, especially in White 
Sage. If we all rode over to his ranch we'd have to fight 
his men before we reached the corrals. You yourself will 
find it pretty warm when you go out with us on the ranges, 
and if you make White Sage you'll find it hot. You're 
called 'Dene's spy' there, and the rustlers are still looking 
for you. I wouldn't worry about it, though." 

"Why not, I'd like to know ?" inquired Hare, with a short 
laugh. 

"Well, if you're like the other Gentiles who have come 
into Utah you won't have scruples about drawing on a man 

127 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Father says the draw comes natural to you, and you're 
as quick as he is. Then he says you can beat any rifle 
shot he ever saw, and that long-barrelled gun you've got 
will shoot a mile. So if it comes to shooting — ^why, you can 
shoot. If you want to run — who's going to catch you on 
that white-maned stallion ? We talked about you, George 
and I; we're mighty glad you're well and can ride with us." 
Long into the night Jack Hare thought over this talk. 
It opened up a vista of the range-life into which he was soon 
to enter. He tried to silence the voice within that cried out, 
eager and reckless, for the long rides on the windy open. 
The years of his illness returned in fancy, the narrow room 
with the lamp and the book, and the tears over stories and 
. dreams of adventure never to be for such as he. And now 
how wonderful was life! It was, after all, to be full for 
him. It was already full. Already he slept on the ground, 
open to the sky. He looked up at a wild black cliff, moun- 
tain-high, with Its windwom star of blue; he felt himself 
on the threshold of the desert, with that subtle mystery 
waiting; he knew himself to be close to strenuous action 
on the ranges, companion of these sombre Mormons, ex- 
posed to their peril, making their cause his cause, their life 
his life. What of their friendship, their confidence ? Was 
he worthy ? Would he fail at the pinch ? What a man he 
must become to approach their simple estimate of him! 
Because he had found health and strength, because he 
could shoot, because he had the fleetest horse on the desert, 
were these reasons for their friendship? No, these were 
only reasons fof their trust. August Naab loved him, 
Mescal loved him; Dave and George made of him a brother. 
"They shall have my life," he muttered. 

128 



THE SCENT OF DESERT-WATER 

The bleating of the sheep heralded another day. With 
the brightening light began the drive over the sand. Under • 
the cliff the shade was cool and fresh; there was no wind; 
the sheep made good progress. But the broken line of 
shade crept inward toward the flock, and passed it. The 
sun beat down, and the wind arose. A red haze of fine 
sand eddied about the toiling sheep and shepherds. Piute 
trudged ahead leading the king-ram, old Socker, the leader 
of the flock; Mescal and Hare rode at the right, turning 
their feces from the sand-filled puff's of wind; August and 
Dave drove behind; Wolf, as always, took care of the 
stragglers. An hour went by without signs of distress; 
and with half the five-mile trip at his back August Naab's 
voice gathered cheer. The sun beat hotter. Another hour 
told a different story — ^the sheep labored; they had to be 
forced by urge of whip, by knees of horses, by Wolf's 
threatening bark. They stopped altogether during the 
frequent hot sand-blasts, and could not be driven. So 
time dragged. The flock straggled out to a long irregular 
line; rams refused to budge till they were ready; sheep 
lay down to rest; lambs fell. But there was an end to the 
belt of sand, and August Naab at last drove the lagging 
trailers out upon the stony bench. 

The sun was about two hours past the meridian; the red 
walls of the desert were closing in; the V-shaped split where 
the Colorado cut through was in sight. The trail now was 
wide and unobstructed and the distance short, yet August 
Naab ever and anon turned to face the canon and shook 
his head in anxious foreboding. 

It quickly dawned upon Hare that the sheep were be- 
having in a way new and singular to him. They packed 

129 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

densely now, crowding forward, many raising their heads 
over the haunches of others and bleating. They were not 
in their usual calm pattering hurry, but nervous, excited, 
and continually facing west toward the canon, noses up. 

On the top of the next little ridge Hare heard Silvermane 
snort as he did when led to drink. There was a scent of 
water on the wind. Hare caught it, a damp, muggy smell. 
The sheep had noticed it long before, and now under its 
nearer, stronger influence began to bleat wildly, to run 
faster, to crowd without aim. 

"There's work ahead. Keep diem packed and going. 
Turn the wheelers," ordered August. 

What had been a drive became a flight. And it was well 
so long as the sheep headed straight up the trail. Piute 
had to go to the right to avoid being run down. Mescal 
rode up to fill his place. Hare took his cue from Dave, and 
rode along the flank, crowding the sheep inward. August 
cracked his whip behind. For half a mile the flock kept to the 
trail, then, as if by common consent, they sheered off to the 
right. With this move August and Dave were transformed 
from quiet almost to frenzy. They galloped to the fore, 
and into the very faces of the turning sheep, and drove them 
back. Then the rear-guard of the flock curved outward. 

"Drive them in!" roared August. 

Hare sent Silvermane at the deflecting sheep and fright- 
ened them into line. i 

Wolf no longer had power to chase the stragglers; they 
had to be turned by a horse. All along the flank noses 
pointed outward; here and there sheep wilder than the 
others leaped forward to lead a widening wave of bobbing 
woolly backs. Mescal engaged one point. Hare another, 

130 



THE SCENT ' OF DESERT-WATER 

Dave another, and August Naab's roan thundered up and 
down the constantly broken line. All this while as the 
shepherds fought back the sheep, the flight continued faster 
eastward, farther caiionward. Each side gained, but the 
flock gained more toward the canon than the drivers gained 
toward the oasis. 

By August's hoarse yells, by Dave's stern face and cease- 
less swift action, by the increasing din, Hare knew terrible 
danger hung over the flock; what it was he could not tell. 
He heard the roar of the river rapids, and it seemed that the 
sheep heard it "with him. They plunged madly; they had 
gone wild from the scent and sound of water. Their eyes 
gleamed red; their tongues flew out. There was no aim 
to the rush of the great body of sheep, but they followed the 
leaders and the leaders followed the scent. And the drivers 
headed them ofi^, rode them down, ceaselessly, riding for- 
ward to check one outbreak, wheeling backward to check 
another. 

The flight became a rout. Hare was in the thick of dust 
and din, of the terror-stricken jumping mob, of the ever- 
starting, ever-widening streams of sheep; he rode and yelled 
and fired his Colt. The dust choked him, the sun burned 
him, the flying pebbles cut his cheek. Once he had a 
glimpse of Black BoUy in a melee of dust and sheep; Dave s 
mustang blurred in his sight; August's roan seemed to be 
double. Then Silvermane, of his own accord, was out be- 
fore them all. 

The sheep had almost gained the victory; their keen 
noses were pointed toward the water; nothing could stop 
their flight; but still the drivers dashed at them, ever fight- 
ing, never wearying, never ceasing. 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

At the last incline, where a gentle slope led down to a 
dark break in the desert, the rout became a stampede. 
Left and right flanks swung round, the Hne lengthened, 
and round the struggling horses, knee-deep in woolly backs, 
split the streams to flow together beyond in one resistless 
river of sheep. Mescal forced Bolly out of danger; Dave 
escaped the right flank, August and Hare swept on with the 
flood, till the horses, sighting the dark caiion, halted to 
stand like rocks. 

"Will they run over the rim ?" yelled Hare, horrified. His 
voice came to him as a whisper. August Naab, sweat* 
stained in red dust, haggard, gray locks streaming in the 
wind, raised his arms above his head, hopeless. 

The long nodding line of woolly forms, lifting like the 
crest of a yellow wave, plunged out and down in rounded 
billow over the canon rim. With din of hoofs and bleats 
the sheep spilled themselves over the precipice, and an 
awful deafening roar boomed up from the river, like the 
spreading thunderous crash of an avalanche. 

How endless seemed that fatal plunge! The last line 
of sheep, pressing close to those gone before, and yet 
impelled by the strange instinct of life, turned their eyes 
too late on the brink, carried over by their own momen- 
tum. 

The sliding roar ceased; its echo, muffled and hollow, 
pealed from the cliflFs, then rumbled down the canon to 
merge at length in the sullen, dull, continuous sound of the 
rapids. 

Hare turned at last from that narrow iron-walled clefti 
the depth of which he had not seen, and now had no wish 
to see; and his eyes fell upon a little Navajo iamb limping 

132 



THE SCENT OF DESERT-WATER 

in the trail of the flock, headed for the canon, as sure as 
its mother in purpose. He dismounted and seized it to 
find, to his infinite wonder and gladness, that it wore a 
string and bell round Its neck 
It was Mescal's pet. 



V 



RIDING THE RANGES 

THE shepherds were home in the oasis that evening, and 
next day the tragedy of the sheep was a thing of the 
past. No other circumstance of Hare's four months vnth 
the Naabs had so affected him as this swift inevitable sweep- 
ing away of the flock; nothing else had so vividly told him 
the nature of this country of abrupt heights and depths. 
He remembered August Naab's magnificent gesture of 
despair; and now the man was cheerful again; he showed 
no sign of his great loss. His tasks were many, and when 
one was done, he went on to the next. If Hare had not had 
many proofs of this Mormon's feeling he would have thought 
him callous. August Naab trusted God and men, loved 
.animals, did what he had to do with all his force, and 
accepted fate. The tragedy of the sheep had been 
only an incident in a tragical life — that Hare divined with 
awe. 

Mescal sorrowed, and Wolf mourned in sympathy with 
her, for their occupation was gone, but both brightened 
when August made known his intention to cross the river 
to the Navajo range, to trade with the Indians for another 
flock. He began his preparations immediately. The snow- 
freshets had long run out of the river, the water was low, 
and he wanted to fetch the sheep down before the summer 

134 



RIDING THE RANGES 

rains. He also wanted to find out what kept his son Snap 
so long among the Navajos. 

"I'll take Billy and go at once. Dave, you join George 
and Zeke out on the Silver Cup range. Take Jack with 
you. Brand all the cattle you can before the snow flies. 
Get out of Dene's way if he rides over, and avoid Holder- 
ness's men. I'll have no fights. But keep your eyes sharp 
for their doings." 

It was a relief to Hare that Snap Naab had not yet re- 
turned to the oasis, for he felt a sense of freedom which other- 
wise would have been lacking. He spent the whole of a 
long calm summer day in the orchard and the vineyard. 
The fruit season was at its height. Grapes, plums, pears, 
melons were ripe and luscious. Midsummer was vacation- 
time for the children, and they flocked into the trees like 
birds. The girls were picking grapes; Mother Ruth en- 
listed Jack in her service at the pear-trees; Mescal came, 
too, and caught the golden pears he threw down, and 
smiled up at him; Wolf was there, and Noddle; Black 
Bolly pushed her black nose over the fence, an^ whinnied 
for apples; the turkeys strutted, the peafowls preened their 
beautiful plumage, the guinea-hens ran like quail. Save 
for those frowning red clifl's Hare would have forgotten 
where he was; the warm sun, the yellow fruit, the merry 
screams of children,the joyous laughter of girls, were pleasant 
reminders of autumn picnic days long gone. But, in the face 
of those dominating wind-scarred walls, he could not forget. 

That night Hare endeavored to see Mescal alone for a 
few moments, to see her once more with unguarded eyes, 
to whisper a few words, to say good-bye; but it was im« 
possibly. 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

On the morrow he rode out of the red cliff gate with Dave 
and the pack-horses, a dull ache in his heart; for amid the 
cheering crowd of children and women who bade them 
good-bye he had caught the wave of Mescal's hand and a 
look of her eyes that would be with him always. What 
might happen before he returned, if he ever did return! 
For he knew now, as well as he could feel Silvermane's easy 
stride, that out there under the white glare of desert, the 
white gleam of the slopes of Coconina, was wild life awaiting 
him. And he shut his teeth, and narrowed his eyes, and 
faced it with an eager joy that was in strange contrast to 
the pang in his breast. 

That morning the wind dipped down off the Vermillion 
Cliffs and whipped west; there was no scent of river-water, 
and Hare thought of the fatality of the sheep-drive, when, 
for one day out of the year, a moistened dank breeze had 
met the flock on the narrow bench. Soon the bench lay 
far behind them, and the strip of treacherous sand, and the 
maze of sculptured cliff under the Blue Star, and the hum- 
mocky low ridges beyond, with their dry white washes. 
Silvermane kept on in front. Already Hare had learned 
that the gray would have no horse before him. His pace 
was swift, steady, tireless. Dave was astride his Navajo 
mount, an Indian-bred horse, half mustang, which had to be 
held in with a firm rein. The pack train strung out far 
behind, trotting faithfully along, with the white packs, like 
the humps of camels, nodding up and down. Jack and 
Dave slackened their gait at the foot of the stony divide. It 
was an ascent of miles, so long that it did not appear steep. 
Here the pack-train caught up, and thereafter hung at the 
heels of the riders. 

136 



RIDING THE RANGES 

From the broad bare summit Jack saw the Silver Cup 
valley -range with eyes which seemed to magnify the 
winding trail, the long red wall, the green slopes, the 
dots of sage and cattle. Then he made allowance for 
months of unobstructed vision; he had learned to see; 
his eyes had adjusted themselves to distance and dimen- 
sions. 

Silver Cup Spring lay in a bright green spot close under a 
break in the rocky slope that soon lost its gray cliff in the 
shaggy cedared side of Coconina. 

The camp of the brothers was situated upon this cliff in a 
split between two sections of wall. Well sheltered from 
the north and west winds was a grassy plot which afforded 
a good survey of the valley and the trails. Dave and Jack 
received glad greetings from Zeke and George, and Silver- 
mane was an object of wonder and admiration. Zeke, 
who had often seen the gray and chased him too, walked 
round and round him, stroking the silver mane, feeling the 
great chest muscles, slapping his flanks. 

"Well, well, Silvermane, to think I'd live to see you wear- 
ing a saddle and bridle! He's even bigger than I thought. 
There's a horse, Hare! Never will be another like him in 
this desert. If Dene ever sees that horse he'll chase' him to 
the Great Salt Basin. Dene's crazy about fast horses. 
He's from Kentucky, somebody said, and knows a horse 
when he sees one." 

"How are things ?" queried Dave. 

"We can't complain much," replied Zeke, "though we've 
wasted some time on old Whitefoot. He's been chasing our 
horses. It's been pretty hot and dry. Most of the cattle 
are on the slopes; fair browse yet. There's a bunch of 

ii7 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

steers gone up on the mountain, and some more round 
toward the Saddle or the canon." 

" Been over Seeping Springs way ?" 

"Yes. No change since your trip. Holderness's cattle 
are ranging in the upper valley. George found tracks near 
the spring. We believe somebody was watching there 
and made off when we came up." 

"We'll see Holderness's men when we get to riding out," 
put in George. "And some of Dene's too. Zeke met 
Two-Spot Ghance and Culver below at the spring one day, 
sort of surprised them." 

"What day was that ?" 

"Let's see, this's Friday. It was last Monday." 

"What were they doing over here ?" 

"Said they were tracking a horse that had broken his 
hobbles. But they seemed uneasy, and soon rode off." 

"Did either of them ride a horse with one shoe shy ?" 

"Now I think of it, yes. Zeke noticed the track at the 
spring." 

"Well, Chance and Culver had been out our way," 
declared Dave. "I saw their tracks, and they filled up the 
Blue Star waterhole — and cost us three thousand sheep." 

Then he related the story of the drive of the sheep, the 
finding of the plugged waterhole, the scent of the Colorado, 
and the plunge of the sheep into the canon. 

"We've saved one. Mescal's belled Iamb," he concluded. 

Neither Zeke nor George had a word in reply. Hare 
thought their silence unnatural. Neither did the mask-like 
stillness of their faces change. But Hare saw in their eyes 
a pointed clear flame, vibrating like a compass-needle, a 
mere glimmering spark. 

138 



RIDING THE RANGES 

"I'd like to know," continued Dave, calmly poking the 
fire, "who hired Dene's men to plug the waterhole. Dene 
couldn't do that. He loves a horse, and any man who loves 
a horse couldn't fill a waterhole in this desert." 

Hare entered upon his new duties as a range-rider with a 
zeal that almost made up for his lack of experience; he bade 
fair to develop into a right-hand man for Dave, under 
whose watchful eye he worked. His natural qualifications 
were soon shown; he could ride, though his seat was awk- 
ward and clumsy compared to that of the desert rangers, 
a fault that Dave said would correct itself as time fitted him 
close to the saddle and to the swing of his horse. His sight 
had become extraordinarily keen for a new-comer on the 
ranges, and when experience had taught him the land- 
marks, the trails, the distances, the difference between 
smoke and dust and haze, when he could distinguish a band 
of mustangs from cattle, and range-riders from outlaws or 
Indians; in a word, when he had learned to know what it was 
that he saw, to trust his judgment, he would have acquired 
the basic feature of a rider's training. But he showed no 
gift for the lasso, that other essential requirement of his new 
calling. 

"It's funny," said Dave, patiently, "you can't get the 
hang of it. Maybe it's born in a fellow. Now handling a 
gun seems to come natural for some fellows, and you're 
one of them. If only you could get the rope away as quick 
as you can throw your gun!" 

Jack kept faithfully at it, unmindful of defeats, often 

chagrined when he missed some easy opportunity. Not 

improbably he might have failed altogether if he had been 

riding an ordinary horse, or if he had to try roping from a 

10 139 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

fieiy mustang. But Silvermane was as intelligent as he 
Was beautiful and fleet. The horse learned rapidly the 
agile turns and sudden stops necessary, and as for free run- 
ning he never got enough. Out on the range Silvermane 
always had his head up and watched; his life had been 
spent in watching; he saw cattle, riders, mustangs, deer, 
coyotes, every moving thing. So that Hare, in the chasing 
of a cow, had but to start Silvermane, and then he could 
devote himself to the handling of his rope. It took him 
ten times longer to lasso the cow than it took Silvermane 
to head the animal. Dave laughed at some of Jack's ex- 
ploits, encouraged him often, praised his intent if not his 
deed; and always after a run nodded at Silvermane in 
mute admiration. 

Branding the cows and yearlings and tame steers which 
watered at Silver Cup, and never wandered far away, was 
play according to Dave's version. "Wait till we get after 
the wild steers up on the mountain and in the caiions," 
he would say when Jack dropped like a log at supper. 
Work it certainly was for him. At night he was so tired 
that he could scarcely crawl into bed; his back felt as if 
it were broken; his legs were raw, and his bones ached. 
Many mornings he thought it impossible to arise, but 
always he crawled out, grim and haggard, and hobbled 
round the camp-fire to warm his sore and bruised muscles. 
Then when Zeke and George rode in with the horses the 
day's work began. During these weeks of his "hardening 
up," as Dave called it. Hare bore much pain, but he con- 
tinued well and never missed a day. At the most trying 
time when for a few days he had to be helped on and oflf 
Silvermane — for he insisted that he would not stay in 

140 



RIDING THE RANGES 

camp — the brothers made his work as light as possible. 
They gave him the branding outfit to carry, a running-iron 
and a little pot with charcoal and bellows; and with these 
he followed the riders at a convenient distance and leisurely 
pace. 

Some days they branded one hundred cattle. By October 
they had August Naab's crudely fashioned cross on thou- 
sands of cows and steers. Still the stock kept coming down 
from the mountain, driven to the valley by cold weather 
and snow-covered grass. It was well into November before 
the riders finished at Silver Cup, and then arose a question 
as to whether it would be advisable to go to Seeping Springs 
or to the canons farther west along the slope of Coconina. 
George favored the former, but Dave overruled him. ' 

" Father's orders," he said. " He wants us to ride Seeping 
Springs last because he'll be with us then, and Snap too. 
We're going to have trouble over there." 

"How's this branding stock going to help the matter any, 
I'd like to know?" inquired George. "We Mormons 
never needed it." 

"Father says we'll all have to come to it. Holderness's 
stock is branded. Perhaps he's marked a good many 
steers of ours. We can't tell. But if we have our own 
branded we'll know what's ours. If he drives our stock 
We'll know it; if Dene steals, it can be proved that he 
steals." 

"Well, what then ? Do you think he'll care for that, or 
Holderness either ?" 

"No, only it makes this difference: both things will then 
be barefaced robbery. We've never been able to prove 
anything, though we boys know; we don't need any proof. 

141 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Father gives these men the benefit of a doubt. We've 
got to stand by him. I know, George, your hand's begun 
to itch for your gun. So does mine. But vfe've orders to 
obey." 

Many gullies and canons headed up on the slope of Co- 
conina west of Silver Cup, and ran down to open wide on 
the flat desert. They contained plots of white sage and 
bunches of rich grass and cold springs. The steers that 
ranged these ravines were wild as wolves, and in the tangled 
thickets of juniper and manzanita and jumbles of weathered 
cliff they were exceedingly difl5cult to catch. 

Well it was that Hare had received his initiation and had 
become inured to rough, incessant work, for now he came 
to know the real stuff of which these Mormons were made. 
No obstacle barred them. They penetrated the gullies 
to the last step; they rode weathered slopes that were diffi- 
cult for deer to stick upon; they thrashed the bayonet- 
guarded manzanita copses; they climbed into labyrinthine 
fastnesses, penetrating to every nook where a steer could 
hide. Miles of sliding slope and marble-bottomed stream- 
beds were ascended on foot, for cattle could climb where 
a horse could not. Climbing was arduous enough, yet 
the hardest and most perilous toil began when a wild steer 
was cornered. They roped the animals on moving slopes of 
weathered stone, and branded them on the edges of precipices. 

The days and weeks passed, how many no one counted 
or cared. The circle of the sun daily lowered over the 
south end of Coconina; and the black snow-clouds crept 
down the slopes. Frost whitened the ground at dawn, 
and held half the day in the shade. Winter was close at 
the heels of the long autumn. 

Hi 



RIDING THE RANGES 

As for Hare, true to August Naab's assertion, he had lost 
flesh and suffered, arid though the process was heart- 
breaking in its severity, he hung on till he hardened into a 
leather-lunged, wire-muscled man, capable of keeping pace 
with his companions. 

He began his day with the dawn when he threw off the 
frost-coated tarpaulin; the icy water brought him a glow 
of exhilaration; he drank in the spiced cold air, and there 
was the spring of the deer-hunter in his step as he went down 
the slope for his horse. He no longer feared that Silver- 
mane would run away. The gray's bell could always be 
heard near camp in the mornings, and when Hare whistled 
there came always the answering thump of hobbled feet. 
When Silvermane saw him striding through the cedars or 
across the grassy belt of the valley he would nfeigh his glad- 
ness. Hare had come to love Silvermane and talked to him 
and treated him as if he were human. 

When the mustangs were brought into camp the day's 
Work began, the same work as that of yesterday, and yet 
with endless variety, with ever-changing situations that 
Called for quick wits, steel arms, stout hearts, and unflagging 
energies. The darkening blue sky and the sun-tipped 
crags of Vermillion Cliffs were signals to start for camp. 
They ate like wolves, sat for a while around the camp-fire, 
a ragged, weary, silent group; and soon lay down, their 
dark faces in the shadow of the cedars. 

In the beginning of this toil-filled time Hare had resolutely 
set himself to forget Mescal, and he had succeeded at least 
for a time, when he was so sore and weary that he scarcely 
thought at all. But she came back to him, and then there 
was seldom an hour that was not hers. The long months 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

which seemed years since he had seen her, the change in 
him wrought by labor and peril, the deepening friendship 
between him and Dave, even the love he bore Silvermane — 
these, instead of making dim the memory of the dark-eyed 
girl, only made him tenderer in his thought of her. 

Snow drove the riders from the canon -camp down to 
Silver Cup, where they found August Naab and Snap, who 
had ridden in the day before. 

"Now you couldn't guess how many cattle are back there 
in the caiions," said Dave to his father. 

"I haven't any idea," answered August, dubiously. 

"Five thousand head." 

" Dave !" His father's tone was incredulous. 

"Yes. You know we haven't been back in there for years. 
The stock has multiplied rapidly in spite of the lions and 
wolves. Not only that, but they're safe from the winter, 
and are not likely to be found by Dene or anybody 
else." 

"How do you make that out ?" 

"The first cattle we drove in used to come back here to 
Silver Cup to winter. Then they stopped coming, and we 
almost forgot them. Well, they've got a trail round under 
the Saddle, and they go down and winter in the canon. 
In summer they head up those rocky gullies, but they Can't 
get up on the mountain. So it isn't likely any one will ever 
discover them. They are wild as deer and fatter than any 
stock on the ranges." 

"Good! That's the best news I've had in many a day. 
Now, boys, we'll ride the mountain slope toward Seeping 
Springs, drive the cattle down, and finish up this branding. 
Somebody ought to go to White Sage. I'd like to know 

144 



RIDING THE RANGES 

what's going on, what Holderness is up to, what Dene is 
doing, if there's any_ stock being driven to Lund." 

"I told you I'd go," said Snap Naab. 

"I don't want you to," replied his father. "I guess it 
can wait till spring, then we'll all go in. I might have 
thought to bring you boys out some clothes and boots. 
You're pretty ragged. Jack there, especially, looks like a 
scarecrow. Has he worked as hard as he looks ?" 

"Father, he never lost a day," replied Dave, warmly, 
"and you know what riding is in these canons." 

August Naab looked at Hare and laughed. "It 'd be 
funny, wouldn't it, if Holderness tried to slap you now ? 
I always knew you'd do. Jack, and now you're one of us, 
and you'll have a share with my sons in the cattle." 

But the generous promise failed to offset the feeling 
aroused by the presence of Snap Naab. With the first 
sight of Snap's sharp face and strange eyes Hare became 
conscious of an inward heat, which he had felt before, 
but never as now, when there seemed to be an actual flame 
within his breast. Yet Snap seemed greatly changed; the 
red flush, the swollen lines no longer showed in his face; 
evidently in his absence on the Navajo desert he had had no 
liquor; he was good-natured, lively, much inclined to 
joking, and he seemed to have entirely forgotten his ani- 
mosity toward Hare. It was easy for Hare to see that the 
man's evil nature was in the ascendancy only when he was 
under the dominance of drink. But he could not forgive; 
he could not forget. Mescal's dark, beautiful eyes haunted 
him. Even now she might be married to this man. Per- 
haps that was why Snap appeared to be in such cheerful 
spirits. Suspense added its burdensome insistent question, 

HS 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

but he could not bring himself to ask August if the marriage 
had taken place. For a day he fought to resign himself to 
the inevitability of the Mormon custom, to forget Mescal, 
and then he gave up trying. This surrender he felt to be 
something crucial in his life, though he could not wholly 
understand it. It was the darkening of his spirit; the 
death of boyish gentleness; the concluding step from youth 
into a forced manhood. The desert regeneration had not 
stopped at turning weak lungs, vitiated. blood, and flaccid 
muscles into a powerful man; it was at work on his mind, 
his heart, his soul. They answered more and more to 
the call of some outside, ever-present, fiercely subtle thing. 

Thenceforth he no longer vexed himself by trying to 
forget Mescal; if she came to mind he told himself the 
truth, that the weeks and months had only added to his love. 
And though it was bitter-sweet there was relief in speaking 
the truth to himself. He no longer blinded himself by 
hoping, striving to have generous feelings toward Snap 
Naab; he called the inward fire by its real name — ^jealousy 
— and knew that in the end it would become hatred. 

On the third morning after leaving Silver Cup the riders 
were working slowly along the slope of Coconina; and 
Hare having driven down a bunch of cattle, found himself 
on an open ridge near the temporary camp. Happening 
to glance up the valley he saw what appeared to be smoke 
hanging over Seeping Springs. 

"That can't be dust," he soliloquized. "Looks blue 
to me." 

He studied the hazy bluish cloud for some time, but it 
was so many miles away that he could not be certain whether 
it was smoke or not, so he decided to ride over and make 

J46 



RIDING THE RANGES 

sure. None of the Naabs was in camp, and there was no 
telling when they would return, so he set off alone. He 
expected to get back before dark, but it was of little con- 
sequence whether he did or not, for he had his blanket under 
the saddle, and grain for Silvermane and food for himself 
in the saddle-bags. 

Long before Silvermane's easy trot had covered half the 
distance Hare recognized the cloud that had made him 
curious. It was smoke. He thought that range-riders 
were camping at the springs, and he meant to see what 
they were about. After three hours of brisk travel he 
reached the top of a low rolling knoll that hid Seeping 
Springs. He remembered the springs were up under the 
red wall, and that the pool where the cattle drank was 
lower down in a clump of cedars. He saw smoke rising in 
a column from the cedars, and he heard the lowing of 
cattle. 

"Something wrong here," he muttered. Following the 
trail, he rode through the cedars to come upon the dry hole 
where the pool had once been. There was no water in the 
flume. The bellowing cattle came from beyond the cedars, 
down the other side of the ridge. He was not long in 
reaching the open, and then one glance made all clear. 

A new pool, large as a little lake, shone in the sunlight, 
and round it a jostling horned mass of cattle were pressing 
against a high corral. The flume that fed water to the pool 
was fenced all the way up to the springs. 

Jack slowly rode down the ridge with eyes roving under 
the cedars and up to the wall. Not a man was in sight. 

When he got to the fire he saw that it was not many 
hours old and was surrounded by fresh boot and horse 

147 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

tracks in the dust. Piles of slender pine logs, trimmed flat 
on one side, were proof of somebody's intention to erect a 
cabin. In a rage he flung himself from the saddle. It 
was not many moments' work for him to push part of the 
fire under the fence, and part of it against the pile of logs. 
The pitch-pines went off like rockets, driving the thirsty 
cattle back. 

"I'm going to trail those horse-tracks," said Hare. 

He tore down a portion of the fence enclosing the flume, 
and gave Silvermane a drink, then put him to a fast trot on 
the white trail. The tracks he had resolved to follow were 
clean-cut. A few inches of snow had fallen in the valley, 
and melting, had softened the hard ground. Silvermane 
kept to his gait with the tirelessness of a desert horse. 
August Naab had once said fifty miles a day would be play 
for the stallion. All the afternoon Hare watched the trail 
speed toward him and the end of Coconina rise above him. 
Long before sunset he had reached the slope of the mountain 
and had begun the ascent. Half way up he came to the 
snow and counted the tracks of three horses. At twilight 
he rode into the glade where August Naab had waited for 
his Navajo friends. There, in a sheltered nook among 
the rocks, he unsaddled Silvermane, covered and fed him, 
built a fire, ate sparingly of his meat and bread, and rolling 
up in his blanket, was soon asleep. 

He was up and off before sunrise, and he came out on 
the western slope of Coconina just as the shadowy valley 
awakened from its misty sleep into daylight. Soon the 
Pink Cliffs leaned out, glimmering and vast, to change 
from gloomy gray to rosy glow, and then to brighten and 
to redden in the morning sun. 

148 



RIDING THE RANGES 

The snow thinned and failed, but the iron-cut horse- 
tracks showed plainly in the trail. At the foot of the moun- 
tain the tracks left the White Sage trail and led off to the 
north toward the cliffs. Hare searched the red sage- 
spotted waste for Holderness's ranch. He located it, a 
black patch on the rising edge of the valley under the wall, 
and turned Silvermane into the tracks that pointed straight 
toward it. 

The sun cleared Coconina and shone warm on his back; 
the Pink Cliffs lifted higher and higher before him. From 
the ridge-tops he saw the black patch grow into cabins and 
corrals. As he neared the ranch he came into rolling 
pasture-land where the bleached grass shone white and the 
cattle were ranging in the thousands. This range had once 
belonged to Martin Cole, and Hare thought of the bitter 
Mormon as he noted the snug cabins for the riders, the 
rambling, picturesque ranch-house, the large corrals, and 
the long flume that ran down from the cliff. There was a 
corral full h£ shaggy horses, and another full of steers, and 
two lines of cattle, one going into a pond-corral, and one 
coming out. The air was gray with dust. A bunch of 
yearlings were licking at huge lumps of brown rock-salt. 
A wagonful of cowhides stood before the ranch-house. 

Hare reined in at the door and halloed. 

A red - faced ranger with sandy hair and twinkling eyes 
appeared. 

"Hello, stranger, get down an' come i.i,'' he said. 

"Is Holderness here i'" asked Hare. 

"No. He's been to Lund with a bunch of steers. I 
reckon he'll be in White Sage by now. I'm Snood, the 
foreman. Is it a job ridin' you want ?" 

149 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"No." 

"Say! thet hoss — " he exclaimed. His gaze of friendljf 
curiosity had moved from Hare to Silvermane. "You can 
corral me if it ain't thet Sevier range stallion!" 

"Yes," said Hare. 

Snood's vyhoop brought three riders to the door, and 
when he pointed to the horse, they stepped out with good- 
natured grins and admiring eyes. 

"I never seen him but onc't," said one. 

"Lordy, what a hoss!" Snood walked round Silvermane. 
"If I owned this ranch I'd trade it for that stallion. I 
know Silvermane. He an* I hed some chases over in 
Nevada. An', stranger, who might you be ?" 

"I'm one of August Naab's riders." 

"Dene's spy!" Snood looked Hare over carefully, with 
much interest, and without any show of ill-will. "I've 
heerd of you. An' what might one of Naab's riders want 
of Holdemess ?" 

"I rode in to Seeping Springs yesterday," said Hare, 
eying the foreman. "There was a new pond, fenced in. 
Our cattle couldn't drink. There were a lot of trimmed 
logs. Somebody was going to build a cabin. I burned 
the corrals and logs — and I trailed fresh tracks from Seeping 
Springs to this ranch." 

"The h— 1 you did!" shouted Snood, and his face flamed. 
"See here, stranger, you're the second man to accuse some 
of my riders of suv.h dirty tricks. That's enough for me. I 
was foreman of this ranch till this minute. I was foreman, 
but there were things goin' on thet I didn't know of. I 
kicked on thet deal with Martin Cole. I quit. I steal no 
man's water. Is thet good with you ?" 

ISO 



RIDING THE RANGES 

Snood's queiy was as much a challenge as a question. 
He bit savagely at his pipe. Hare offered his hand. 

"Your word goes. Dave Naab said you might be Hold- 
erness's foreman, but you weren't a liar or a thief. I'd be- 
lieve it even if Dave hadn't told me." 

"Them fellers you tracked rode in here yesterday. 
They're gone now. I've no more to say, except I never 
hired them." 

"I'm glad to hear it. Good-day, Snood, I'm in some- 
thing of a hurry." 

With that Hare faced about in the direction of White 
Sage. Once clear of the corrals he saw the village closer 
than he had expected to find it. He walked Silvermane 
most of the way, and jogged along the rest, so that he reached 
the village in the twilight. Memory served him well. He 
rode in as August Naab had ridden out, and arrived at the 
Bishop's barn-yard, where he put up his horse. Then he 
went to the house. It was necessary to introduce himself, 
for none of the Bishop's family recognized in him the young 
man they had once befriended. The old Bishop prayed 
and reminded him of the laying on of hands. The women 
served him with food, the young men brought him new 
boots and garments to replace those that had been worn 
to tatters. Then they plied him with questions about the 
Naabs, whom they had not seen for nearly a year. They 
rejoiced at his recovered health; they welcomed him with 
warm words. 

Later Hare sought an interview alone with the Bishop's 
sons, and he told them of the loss of the sheep, of the burn- 
ing of the new corrals, of the tracks leading to Holdemess's 
ranch. In turn they warned him of his danger, and gave 

151 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT ^ 

him information desired by August Naab. Holderness's 
grasp on the outlying ranges and water-rights had slowly 
and surely tightened; every month he acquired new ter- 
ritory; he drove cattle regularly to Lund, and it was no 
secret that much of the stock came from the eastern slope 
of Coconina. He could not hire enough riders to do his 
work, A suspicion that he was not a cattle-man but a 
rustler had slowly gained ground; it was scarcely hinted, 
but it was believed. His friendship with Dene had become 
offensive to the Mormons, who had formerly been on good 
footing with him. Dene's killing of Martin Cole was be- 
lieved to have been at Holderness's instigation. Cole had 
threatened Holdemess. Then Dene and Cole had met in 
the main street of White Sage. Cole's death ushered in the 
bloody time that he had prophesied. Dene's band had 
grown; no man could say how many men he had or who 
they were. Chance and Culver were openly his lieutenants, 
and whenever they came into the village there was shooting. 
There were ugly rumors afloat in regard to their treatment 
of Mormon women. The wives and daughters of once 
peaceful White Sage dared no longer venture out-of-doors 
after nightfall. There was more money in coin and more 
whiskey than ever before in the village. Lund and the few 
villages northward were terrorized as well as White Sage. 
It was a bitter story. 

The Bishop and his sons tried to persuade Hare next 
morning to leave the village without seeing Holdemess, 
urging the futility of such a meeting. 

"I will see him," said Hare. He spent the morning at 
the cottage, and when it came time to take his leave 
he smiled into the anxious faces. "If I weren't able 

152 



RIDING THE RANGES 

to take care of myself August Naab would never have 
said so." 

Had Hare asked himself what he intended to do when he 
faced Holderness he could not have told. His feelings 
were pfent-in, bound, but at the bottom something rankled. 
His mind seemed steeped in still thunderous atmosphere. 

How well he remembered the quaint wide street, the gray 
church! As he rode many persons stopped to gaze at Silver- 
mane. He turned the corner into the main thoroughfare. 
A new building had been added to the several stores. Mus- 
tangs stood, bridles down, before the doors; men lounged 
along the railings. 

As he dismounted he heard the loungers speak of his 
horse, and he saw their leisurely manner quicken. He 
stepped into the store to meet more men, among them 
August Naab's friend Abe. Hare might never have been 
in White Sage for all the recognition he found, but he ex- 
cited something keener than curiosity. He asked for 
spurs, a clasp-knife and some other necessaries, and he 
contrived, when momentarily out of sight behind a pile of 
boxes, to whisper his identity to Abe. The Mormon was 
dumbfounded. When he came out of his trance he showed 
his gladness, and at a question of Hare's he silently pointed 
toward the saloon. 

Hare faced the open door. The room had been enlarged; 
it was now on a level with the store floor, and was blue with 
smoke, foul with the fumes of rum, and noisy with the 
voices of dark, rugged men. 

A man in the middle of the room was dancing a jig. 

"Hello, who's this?" he said, straightening up. 

It might have been the stopping of the dance or the quick 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

spark in Hare's eyes that suddenly quieted the room. Hare 
had once vowed to himself that he would never forget the 
scarred face; it belonged to the outlaw Chance. 

The sight of it flashed into the gulf of Hare's mind like a 
meteor into black night. A sudden madness raced through 
his veins. 

"Hello! Don't you know me ?" he said, with a long step 
that brought him close to Chance. 

The outlaw stood irresolute. Was this an old friend or 
an enemy? His beady eyes scintillated and twitched as 
if they sought to look him over, yet dared not because it 
was only in the face that intention could be read. 

The stillness of the room broke to a hoarse whisper from 
some one. 

"Look how he packs his gun." 

Another man answering whispered: "There's not six 
men in Utah who pack a gun thet way." 

Chance heard these whispers, for his eye shifted down- 
ward the merest fraction of a second. The brick color of 
his face turned a dirty white. 

"Do you know me ?" demanded Hare. 

Chance's answer was a spasmodic jerking of his hand 
toward his hip. Hare's arm moved quicker, and Chance's 
Colt went spinning to the floor. 

, "Too slow," said Hare. Then he flung Chance back- 
ward and struck him blows that sent his head with sodden 
thuds against the log wall. Chance sank to the floor in a 
heap. 

Hare kicked the outlaw's gun out of the way, and wheeled 
to the crowd. Holdemess stood foremost, his tall form lean- 
ing against the bar, his clear eyes shining like light on ice. 

154 



RIDING THE RANGES 

"Do you know me ?" asked Hare, curtly. 

Holderness started slightly. "I certainly don't," he 
replied. 

"You slapped my face once." Hare leaned close to the 
rancher. "Slap it now — ^you rustler!" 

In the slow, guarded instant when Hare's gaze held 
Holderness and the other nien, a low murmuring ran 
through the room. 

"Dene's spy!" suddenly burst out Holderness. 

Hare slapped his face. Then he backed a few paces 
with his right arm held before him almost as high as his 
shoulder, the wrist rigid, the fingers quivering. 

"Don't try to draw, Holderness. Thet's August Naab's 
trick with a gun," whispered a man, hurriedly. 

"Holderness, I made a bonfire over at Seeping Springs," 
said Hare. "I burned the new corrals your men built, 
and I tracked them to your ranch. Snood threw up his 
job when he heard it. He's an honest man, and no honest 
man will work for a water-thief, a cattle-rustler, a sheep- 
killer. You're shown up, Holderness. Leave the country 
before some one kills you — understand, before some one 
kills you!" 

Holderness stood motionless against the bar, his eyes 
fierce with passionate hate. 

Hare backed step by step to the outside door, his right 
hand still high, his look holding the crowd bound to the last 
instant. Then he slipped out, scattered the group round 
Silvermane, and struck hard with the spurs. 

The gray, never before spurred, broke down the road 
into his old wild speed. 

Men were crossing from the comer of the green square. 

11 ^SS 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

One, a compact little fellow, swarthy, his dark hair long 
and flowing, with jaunty and alert air, was Dene, the 
outlaw leader. He stopped, with his companions, to let 
the horse cross. 

Hare guided the thundering stallion slightly to the left. 
Silvermane swerved and in two mighty leaps bore down on 
the outlaw. Dene saved himself by quickly leaping aside, 
but even as he moved Silvermane struck him with his left 
fore-leg, sending him into the dust. 

At the street corner Hare glanced back. Yelling men 
were rushing from the saloon and some of them fired after 
him. The bullets whistled harmlessly behind Hare. Then 
the comer house shut off his view. 

Silvermane lengthened out and stretched lower with his 
white mane flying and his nose pointed level for the desert. 



XI 

THE DESERT-HAWK 

TOWARD the close of the next day Jack Hare arrived 
at Seeping Springs. A pile of gray ashes marked the 
spot where the trimmed logs had lain. Round the pool ran 
a black circle hard packed into the ground by many hoofs. 
Even the board flume had been burned to a level with the 
glancing sheet of water. Hare was slipping Silvermane's 
bit to let him drink when he heard a halloo. Dave Naab 
galloped out of the cedars, and presently August Naab and 
his other sons appeared with a pack-train. 

"Now you've played hob!" exclaimed Dave. He swung 
out of his saddle and gripped Hare with both hands. "I 
know what you've done; I know where you've been. 
Father will be furious, but don't you care." 

The other Naabs trotted down the slope and lined their 
horses before the pool. The sons stared in blank astonish- 
ment; the father surveyed the scene slowly, and then fixed 
wrathful eyes on Hare. 

"What does this mean ?" he demanded, with the sonor- 
ous roll of his angry voice. 

Hare told all that had happened. 

August Naab's gloomy face worked, and his eagle-gaze 
had in it a strange far-seeing light; his mind was dwelling 
upon his mystic power of revelation. 

^57 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"I see — I see," he said haltingly. 

"Ki — yi-i-i!" yelled Dave Naab with all the power of 
his lungs. His head was back, his mouth wide open, his 
face red, his neck corded and swollen with the intensity of 
his passion. 

"Be still — boy!" ordered his father. "Hare, this was 
madness — but tell me what you learned." 

Briefly Hare repeated all that l;ie had been told at the 
Bishop's, and concluded with the killing of Martin ©ole 
by Dene. 

August Naab bowed his head and his giant frame shook 
under the force of his emotion. Martin Cole was the last 
of his life-long friends. 

"This — this outlaw — ^you say you ran him down?" 
asked Naab, rising haggard and shaken out of his grief. 

"Yes. He didn't recognize me or know what was com- 
ing till Silvermane was on him. But he was quick, and fell 
sidewise. Silvermane's knee sent him sprawling." 

"What will it all lead to ?" asked August Naab, and In his 
extremity he appealed to his eldest son. 

"The bars are down," said Snap Naab, with a click of 
his long teeth. 

"Father," began Dave Naab earnestly, "Jack has done 
a splendid thing. The news will fly over Utah like wild- 
fire. Mormons are slow. They need a leader. But they 
can follow and they will. We can't cure these evils by 
hoping and praying. We've got to fight!" 

"Dave's right, dad, it means fight," cried George, with 
his fist clinched high. 

"You've been wrong, father, in holding back," said 
Zeke Nsab, his lean jaw bulging. "This Holdemess will 

158 



THE DESERT-HAWK 

steal the water and meat out of our children's mouths. 
We've got to fight!" 

"Let's ride to White Sage," put in Snap Naab, and the 
little flecks in his eyes were dancing. "I'll throw a gun on 
Dene. I can get to him. We've been tolerable friends. 
He's wanted me to join his band. I'll kill him." 

He laughed as he raised his right hand and swept it 
down to his left side; the blue Colt lay on his outstretched 
palm. Dene's life and Holdemess's, too, hung in the bal- 
ance between two deadly snaps of this desert-wolf's teeth. 
He was one of the Naabs, and yet apart from them, for 
neither religion, nor friendship, nor life itself mattered 
to him. 

August Naab's huge bulk shook again, not this time with 
grief, but in wrestling effort to withstand the fiery influence 
of this unholy fighting spirit among his sons. 

"I am fprbidden." 

His answer was gentle, but its very gentleness breathed 
of his battle over himself, of allegiance to something beyond 
earthly duty. "We'll drive the cattle to Silver Cup," he 
decided, "and then go home. I give up Seeping Springs. 
Perhaps this valley and water will content Holderness." 

When they reached the oasis Hare was surprised to find 
that it was the day before Christmas. The welcome given 
the long-absent riders was like a celebration. Much to 
Hare's disappointment Mescal did not appear; the home- 
coming was not joyful to him because it lacked her welcom- 
ing smile. 

Christmas Day ushered in the short desert winter; ice 
formed in the ditches and snow fell, but neither long resisted 
the reflection of the sun from the walls. The early morning 

159 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

hours were devoted to religious services. At midday din- 
ner was served in the big room of August Naab's cabin. 
At one end was a stone fireplace where logs blazed and 
crackled. 

In all his days Hare had never seen such a bountiful 
board. Yet he was unable to appreciate it, to share in the 
general thanksgiving. Dominating all other feeling was 
the fear that Mescal would come in and take a seat by Snap 
Naab's side. When Snap seated himself opposite with 
his pale little wife Hare found himself waiting for Mescal 
with an intensity that made him dead to all else. The girls, 
Judith, Esther, Rebecca, came running gayly in, clad in 
their best dresses, with bright ribbons to honor the occasion. 
Rebecca took the seat beside Snap, and Hare gulped with 
a hard contraction of his throat. Mescal was not yet a 
Mormon's wife! He seemed to be lifted upward, to grow 
light-headed with the blessed assurance. Then Mesckl 
entered and took the seat next to him. She smiled and 
spoke, and the blood beat thick in his ears. 

That moment was happy, but it was as nothing to its 
successor. Under the table-cover Mescal's hand found his, 
and pressed it daringly and gladly. Her hand lingered in his 
all the time August Naab spent in carving the turkey — 
lingered there even though Snap Naab's hawk eyes were 
never far away. In the warm touch of her hand^ in some 
subtle thing that radiated from her Hare felt a change in 
the girl he loved. A few months had wrought in her some 
indefinable diflference, even as they had increased his love 
to its full volume and depth. Had his absence brought her 
to the realization of her woman's heart ? 

In the afternoon Hare left the house and spent a little 
160 



THE DESERT-HAWK 

while with Silvermane; then he wandered along the wall 
to the head of the oasis, and found a seat on the fence. The 
next few weeks presented to him a situation that would be 
difficult to endure. He would be near Mescal, but only to 
have the truth forced cruelly home to him every sane 
moment — that she was not for him. Out on the ranges he 
had abandoned himself to dreams of her; they had been 
beautiful; they had made the long hours seem like minutes; 
but they had forged chains that could not be broken, and 
now he was hopelessly fettered. 

The clatter of hoofs roused him from a reverie which was 
half sad, half sweet. Mescal came tearing down the level 
on Black Bolly. She pulled in the mustang and halted 
beside Hare to hold out shyly a red scarf embroidered with 
Navajo symbols in white and red beads. 

"I've wanted a chance to give you this," she said, "a 
little Christmas present." 

For a few seconds Hare could find no words. 

"Did you make it for me, Mescal?" he finally asked. 
"How good of you! I'll keep it always." 

"Put it on now — let me tie it — there!" 

" But, child. Suppose he — they saw it ?" 

"I don't care who sees it." 

She met him with clear, level eyes. Her curt, crisp 
speech was full of meaning. He looked long at her, with 
a yearning denied for many a day. Her face was the same, 
yet wonderfully changed; the same in line and color, but 
different in soul and spirit. The old sombre shadow lay 
deep in the eyes, but to it had been added gleam of will and 
reflection of thought. The whole face had been refined 
and transformed. 

i6i 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"Mescal! What's happened? You're not the same. 
You seem almost happy. Have you — has he— given you 
up?" 

" Don't you know Mormons better than that ? The thing 
is the same — so far as they're concerned." 

"But Mescal — are you going to marry him ? For God's 
sake, tell me." 

"Never." It was a woman's word, instant, inflexible, 
desperate. With a deep breath Hare realized where the 
girl had changed. 

"Still you're promised, pledged to him! How '11 you get 
out of it ?" 

"I don't know how. But I'll cut out my tongue, and be 
dumb as my poor peon before I'll speak the word that '11 
make me Snap Naab's wife." 

There was a long silence. Mescal smoothed out BoUy's 
mane, and Hare gazed up at the walls with eyes that did not 
see them. 

Presently he spoke. " I'm afraid for you. Snap watched 
us to-day at dinner." 

"He's jealous." 

"Suppose he sees this scarf?" 

Mescal laughed defiantly. It was bewildering for Hare 
to hear her. 

"He'll — Mescal, I may yet come to this." Hare's laugh 
echoed Mescal's as he pointed to the enclosure under the 
wall, where the graves showed bare and rough. 

Her warm color fled, but it flooded back, rich, mantling 
brow and cheek and neck. 

"Snap Naab will never kill you," she said impulsively. 

"Mescal." 

162 



THE DESERT-HAWK 

She swiftly turned her face away as his hand closed on 
hers. 

"Mescal, do you love me ?" 

The trembling of her fingers and the heaving of her 
bosom lent his hope conviction. "Mescal," he went on, 
"these past months have been years, years of toiling, 
thinking, changing, but always loving. I'm not the man 
you knew. I'm wild — I'm starved for a sight of you. I 
love you! Mescal, my desert flower!" 

She raised her free hand to his shoulder and swayed 
toward him. He held her a moment, clasped tight, and 
then released her. 

"I'm quite mad!" he exclaimed, in a passion of self- 
reproach. "What a risk I'm putting on you I But I 
couldn't help it. Look at me — Just once — please™- 
Mescal, just one look. . . . Now go." 

The drama of the succeeding days was of absorbing in- 
terest. Hare had liberty; there was little work for him to 
do save to care for Silvermane. He tried to hunt foxes in 
the caves and clefts; he rode up and down the broad space 
under the walls; he sought the open desert only to be driven 
in by the bitter, biting winds. Then he would return to the 
big living-room of the Naabs and sit before the burning 
logs. This spacious room was warm, light, pleasant, and 
Was used by every one in leisure hours. Mescal spent 
most of her time there. She was engaged upon a new frock 
of buckskin, and over this she bent with her needle and 
beads. When there was a chance Hare talked with her, 
speaking one language with his tongue, a far different one 
with his eyes. When she was not present he looked into 
the glowing red fire and dreamed of her. 

163 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

In the evenings when Snap came in to his wooing and 
drew Mescal into a comer, Hare watched with covert 
glance and smouldering jealousy. Somehow he had come 
to see all things and all people in the desert glass, and his 
symbol for Snap Naab was the desert-hawk. Snap's eyes 
were as wild and piercing as those of a hawk; his nose and 
mouth were as the beak of a hawk; his hands resembled 
the claws of a hawk; and the spurs he wore, always bloody, 
were still more significant of his ruthless nature. Then 
Snap's courting of the girl, the cool assurance, the unhast- 
ening ease, were like the slow rise, the sail, and the poise 
of a desert-hawk before the downward lightning-swift swoop 
on his quarry. 

It was intolerable for Hare to sit there in the evenings, to 
try to play with the children who loved him, to talk to August 
Naab when his eye seemed ever drawn to the quiet couple 
in the corner, and his ear was unconsciously strained to catch 
a passing word. That hour was a miserable one for him, yet 
he could not bring himself to leave the room. He never saw 
Snap touch her; he never heard Mescal's voice; he believed 
that she spoke very little. When the hour was over and 
Mescal rose to pass to her room, then his doubt, his fear, 
his misery, were as though they had never been, for as 
Mescal said good-night she would give him one look, swift 
as a flash, and in it were womanliness and purity, and some- 
thing beyond his comprehension. Her Indian serenity and 
mysticism veiled yet suggested some secret, some power by 
which she might yet escape the iron band of this Mormon 
rule. Hare could not fathom it. In that good-night glance 
was a me<<ning for him alone, if meaning ever shone in wom- 
an's eyes, and it said : " I will be true to you and to myself!" 

164 



THE DESERT-HAWK 

Once the idea struck him that as soon as spring returned 
It would be an easy matter, and probably wise, for him to 
leave the oasis and go up into Utah, far from the desert- 
canon country. But the thought refused to stay before 
his consciousness a moment. New life had flushed his 
veins here. He loved the dreamy, sleepy oasis with its 
mellow sunshine always at rest on the glistening walls; he 
loved the cedar-scented plateau where hope had dawned, 
and the wind-swept sand-strips, where hard out-of-door life 
and work had renewed his wasting youth; he loved the 
canon winding away toward Coconina, opening into wide 
abyss; and always, more than all, he loved the Painted 
Desert, with its ever-changing pictures, printed in sweep- 
ing dust and bare peaks and purple haze. He loved the 
beauty of these places, and the wildness in them had an 
afiinity with something strange and untamed in him. He 
would never leave them. When his blood had cooled, when 
this tumultuous thrill and swell had worn themselves out, 
happiness would come again. 

Early in the winter Snap Naab had forced his wife to 
visit his father's house with him; and she had remained 
in the room, white-faced, passionately jealous, while he 
wooed Mescal. Then had come a scene. Hare had not 
been present, but he knew its results. Snap had been 
furious, his father grave. Mescal tearful and ashamed. 
The wife found many ways to interrupt her husband's love- 
making. She sent the children for him; she was taken 
suddenly ill; she discovered that the corral gate was open 
and his cream-colored pinto, dearest to his heart, was run- 
ning loose; she even set her cottage on fire. 

One Sunday evening just before twilight Hare was sitting 
i6s 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

on the porch with August Naab and Dave, when their talk 
was interrupted by Snap's loud calling for his wife. Al: 
first the sounds came from inside his cabin. Then he put 
his head out of a window and yelled. Plainly he was both 
impatient and angry. It was nearly time for him to make 
his Sunday call upon Mescal. 

"Something's wrong," muttered Dave. 

"Hester! Hester!" yelled Snap. 

Mother Ruth came out and said that Hester was not there. 

"Where is she?" Snap banged on the window-sill with 
his fists. "Find her, somebody — Hester!" 

"Son, this is the Sabbath," called Father Naab, gravely. 
" Lower your voice. Now what's the matter ?" 

"Matter!" bawled Snap, giving way to rage. "When 
I was asleep Hester stole all my clothes. She's hid them — 

she's run off — there's not a d thing for me to put on! 

I'll—" 

The roar of laughter "from August and Dave drowned the 
rest of the speech. Hare managed to stifle his own mirth. 
Snap pulled in his head and slammed the window shut. 

"Jack," said August, "even among Mormons the course 
of true love never runs smooth." 

Hare finally forgot his bitter humor in pity for the wife. 
Snap came to care ^ot at all for her messages and tricks, 
and he let nothing interfere with his evening beside Mescal. 
It was plain that he had gone far on the road of love. What- 
ever he had been in the beginning of the betrothal, he was 
now a lover, eager, importunate. His hawk's eyes were 
softer than Hare had ever seen them; he was obliging, 
kind, gay, an altogether different Snap Naab. He groomed 
himself often, and wore clean scarfs, and left off his bloody 

l66 



THE DESERT-HAWK 

spurs. For eight months he had not touched the botUc.- 
When spring approached he was madly in love with Mescal. 
And the marriage was delayed because his wife would not 
have another woman in her home. 

Once Hare heard Snap remonstrating with his father. 

"If she don't come to time soon I'll keep the kids and 
send her back to her father." 

"Don't be hasty, son. Let her have time," replied 
August. "Women must be humored. I'll wager she'll 
give in before the cottonwood blows, and that's not long." 

It was Hate's habit, as the days grew warmer, to walk a 
good deal, and one evening, as twilight shadowed the oasis 
and grew black under the towering walls, he strolled out 
toward the fields. While passing Snap's cottage Hare 
heard a woman's voice in passionate protest and a man's 
in strident anger Later as he stood with his arm on 
Silvermane, a woman's scream, at first high-pitched, then 
suddenly faint and smothered, caused him to grow rigid, 
and his hand clinched tight. When he went back by the 
cottage a low moaning confirmed his suspicion. 

That evening Snap appeared unusually bright and 
happy; and he asked his father to name the day for the 
wedding. August did so in a loud voice and with evident 
relief. Then the quaint Mormon congratulations were 
olFered to Mescal. To Hare, watching the strange girl 
with the distressingly keen intuition of an unfortunate lover, 
she appeared as pleased as any of them that the marriage 
was settled. But there was no shyness, no blushing con- 
fusion. When Snap bent to kiss her— his first kiss — she 
slightly turned her face, so that his lips brushed her cheek, 
yet even then her self-command did not break for aa in- 

167 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

\, 
stant. It was a task for Hare to pretend to congratulate 
her; nevertheless he mumbled something. She lifted her 
long lashes, and there, deep beneath the shadows, was un- 
utterable anguish. It gave him a shock. He went to his 
room, convinced that she had yielded; and though he could 
not blame her, and he knew she was helpless, he cried out in 
reproach and resentment. She had failed him, as he had 
known she must fail. He tossed on his bed and thought; 
he lay quiet, wide-open eyes staring into the darkness, and 
his mind burned and seethed. Through the hours of that 
long night he learned what love had cost him. 

With the morning light came some degree of resignation. 
Several days went slowly by, bringing the first of April, 
which was to be the wedding-day. August Naab had said 
it would come before the cottonwoods shed their white 
floss; and their buds had just commenced to open. The 
day was not a holiday, and George and Zeke and Dave 
began to pack for the ranges, yet there was an air of 
jollity and festivity. Snap Naab had a springy step and 
jaunty mien. Once he regarded Hare with a slow 
smile. 

Piute prepared to drive his new flock up on the plateau. 
The women of the household were busy and excited; the 
children romped. 

The afternoon waned into twilight, and Hare sought the 
quiet shadows under the wall near the river trail. He 
meant to stay there until August Naab had pronounced his 
son and Mescal man and wife. The dull roar of the rapids 
borne on a faint puff of westerly breeze was lulled into a 
soothing murmur. A radiant white star peeped over the 
black rim of the wall. The solitude and silence were speak- 

l68 



THE DESERT-HAWK 

ing to Hare's heart, easing his pain, when a soft patter of 
moccasined feet brought him bolt upright. 

A slender form rounded the corner wall. It was Mescal. 
The white dog Wolf hung close by her side. Swiftly she 
reached Hare. 

"Mescal!" he exclaimed. 

"Hush! Speak softly," she whispered fearfully. Her 
hands were clinging to his. 

"Jack, do you love me still ?" 

More than woman's sweetness was in the whisper; the 
portent of indefinable motive made Hare tremble like a 
shaking leaf. 

"Good heavens! You are to be married in a few minutes 
— ^What do you mean ? Where are you going ? this buck- 
skin suit — and Wolf with you — Mescal!" 

"There's no time — only a word — hurry— ^do you love me 
still ?" she panted, with great shining eyes close to his. 

"Love you? With all my soul!" 

"Listen," she whispered, and leaned against him. A 
fresh breeze bore the boom of the river. She caught her 
breath quickly: "I love you! — I love you! — Good-bye I" 

She kissed him and broke from his clasp. Then silently, 
like a shadow, with the white dog close beside her, she dis- 
appeared in the darkness of the river trail. 

She was gone before he came out of his bewilderment. 
He rushed down the trail; he called her name. The gloom 
had swallowed her, and only the echo of his voice made 
answer. 



XII 

ECHO CLIFFS 

WHEN thought came clearly to him he halted irresolute. 
For Mescal's sake he must not appear to have had 
any part in her headlong flight, or any knowledge of it. 

With stealthy footsteps he reached the cottonwoods, 
stole under the gloomy shade, and felt his way to a point 
beyond the twinkling lights. Then, peering through the 
gloom until assured he was safe from observation, ,and 
taking the dark side of the house, he gained the hall, and his 
room. He threw himself on his bed, and endeavored to 
compose himself, to quiet his vibrating nerves, to still the 
triumphant bell-beat of his heart. For a while all his being 
swung to the palpitating consciousness of joy — Mescal had 
taken her freedom. She had escaped the swoop of the hawk. 

While Hare lay there, trying to gather his shattered senses, 
the merry sound of voices and the music of an accordion 
hummed from thp big living-room next to his. Presently 
heavy boots thumped on the floor of the hall; then a hand 
rapped on his door. 

"Jack, are you there ?" called August Naab. 

."Yes." 

"Come along then." 

Hare rose, opened the door and followed August. The 
room was bright with lights; the table was set, and the 

170 



ECHO CLIFFS 

Naabs, large and small, were standing expectantly. As 
Hare found a place behind them Snap Naab entered with 
his wife. She was as pale as if she were in her shroud. 
Hare caught Mother Ruth's pitying subdued glance as she 
drew the frail little woman to her side. When August Naab 
began fingering his Bible the whispering ceased. 

"Why don't they fetch her ?" he questioned. ' 

"Judith, Esther, bring her in," said Mother Maiy, 
calling into the hallway. 

Quick footsteps, and the girls burst in impetuously, ex- 
claiming: "Mescal's not there!" 

"Where is she, then ?" demanded August Naab, going to 
the door. "Mescal!" he called. 

Succeeding his authoritative summons only the cheery 
sputter of the wood-fire broke the silence. 

"She hadn't put on her white frock," went on Judith. 

"Her buckskins aren't hanging where they always are," 
continued Esther. 

August Naab laid his Bible on the table. "I always 
feared it," he said simply. 

"She's gone!" cried Snap Naab. He ran into the hall, 
into Mescal's room, and returned trailing the white wedding- 
dress. "The time we thought she spent to put this on she's 
been — " 

He choked over the words, and sank into a chair, face 
convulsed, hands shaking, weak in the grip of a grief that 
he had never before known. Suddenly he flung the dress 
into the fire. His wife fell to the floor in a dead faint. 
Then the desert-hawk showed his claws. His hands tore 
at the close scarf round his throat as if to liberate a fury 
that was stifling him; his face lost all semblance to anything 
12 171 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

human. He began to howl, to rave, to curse; and his 
father circled him with iron arm and dragged him from the 
room. 

The children were whimpering, the wives lamenting. 
The quiet men searched the house and yard and corrals and 
fields. But they found no sign of Mescal. After long hours 
the excitement subsided and all sought their beds. 

Morning disclosed the facts of Mescal's flight. She had 
dressed for the trail; a knapsack was missing and food 
enough to fill it; Wolf was gone; Noddle was not in his 
corral; the peon slave had not slept in his shack; there were 
moccasin-tracks and burro-tracks and dog-tracks in the 
sand at the river crossing, and one of the boats was gone. 
This boat was not moored to the opposite shore. Questions 
arose. Had the boat sunk ? Had the fugitives crossed 
safely or had they drifted into the canon ? Dave Naab 
rode out along the river and saw the boat, a mile below the 
rapids, bottom side up and lodged on a sand-bar. 

"She got across, and then set the boat loose," said August. 
'That's the Indian of her. If she went up on the cliffs to 
the Navajos maybe we'll find her. If she went into the 
Painted Desert — " a grave shake of his shaggy head com- 
pleted his sentence. 

Morning also disclosed Snap Naab once more in the 
clutch of his demon, drunk and unconscious, lying like a log 
on the porch of his cottage. 

"This means ruin to him," said his father. "He had 
one chance; he was mad over Mescal, and if he had got her, 
he might have conquered his thirst for rum." 

He gave orders for the sheep to be driven up on the 
plateau, and for his sons to ride out to the cattle ranges. 

172 



ECHO CLIFFS 

He bade Hare pack and get in readiness to accompany him 
to the Navajo clifFs, there to search for Mescal. 

The river vyas low, as the spring thav?s had not yet set in, 
and the crossing promised none of the hazard so menacing 
at a later period. Billy Naab rovred across with the saddle 
and packs. Then August had to crowd the lazy burros 
into the water. Silvermane went in with a rush, and 
Charger took to the river like an old duck. August and 
Jack sat in the stern of the boat, while Billy handled the 
oars. They crossed swiftly and safely. The three burros 
were then loaded, two with packs, the other with a heavy 
water-bag. 

"See there," said August, pbinting to tracks in the sand. 
The imprints of little moccasins reassured Hare, for he had 
feared the possibility suggested by the upturned boat. 
"Perhaps it'll be better if I never find her," continued Naab. 
"If I bring her back Snap's s.s likely to kill her as to marry 
her. But I must try to find her. Only what to do with 
her—" 

"Give her to me," interrupted Jack. 

"Hare!" 

"I love her!" 

Naab's stern face relaxed. "Well, I'm beat! Though 
I don't see why you should be different from all the others. 
It was that time you spent with her on the plateau. I 
thought you too sick to think of a woman!" 

"Mescal cares for me," said Hare. 

"Ah! That accounts. Hare, did you play me fair ?" 

"We tried to, though we couldn't help loving." 

"She would have married Snap but for you." 

"Yes. But I couldn't help that. You brought me out 
173 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

here, and saved my life. I know what I owe you. Mescal 
meant to marry your son when I left for the range last fall. 
But she's a true woman and couldn't. August Naab, if we 
ever find her will you marry her to him — now ?" 

"That depends. Did you know she intended to run?" 

"I never dreamed of it. I learned it only at the last 
moment. I met her on the river trail." 

"You should have stopped her." 

Hare maintained silence. 

"You should have told me," went on Naab. 

"I couldn't. I'm only human." 

"Wellj well,' I'm not blaming you, Hare. I had hot 
blood once. But I'm afraid the desert will not be large 
enough for you and Snap. She's pledged to him. You 
can't change the Mormon Church. For the sake of peace 
I'd give you Mescal, if I could. ,Snap will either have her 
or kill her. I'm going to hunt this desert in advance of him, 
because he'll trail her like a hound. It would be better to 
marry her to him than to see her dead." 

"I'm not so sure of that." 

"Hare, your nose is on a blood scent, like a wolf's. I can 
see — I've always seen — well, remember, it's man to man 
between you now." 

During this talk they were winding under Echo Cliffs, 
gradually climbing, and working up to a level with 
the desert, which they presently attained at a point near 
the head of the caiion. The trail swerved to the left, 
following the base of the cliffs. The tracks of Noddle and 
Wolf were plainly visible in the dust. Hare felt that if they 
ever led out into the immense airy space of the desert all 
hope of finding Mescal must be abandoned. 

174 



ECHO CLIFFS 

They trailed the tracks of the dog and burro to Bittet 
Seeps, a shallow spring of alkali, and there lost all track of 
them. The path up the cliffs to the Navajo ranges was 
bare, time-worn in solid rock, and showed only the imprint 
of age. Desertward the ridges of shale, the washes of 
copper earth, baked in the sun, gave no sign of the fugitives' 
course. August Naab shrugged his broad shoulders and 
pointed his horse to the cliff. It was dusk when they sur- 
mounted it. 

They camped in the lee of an uplifting crag. When the 
wind died down the night was no longer unpleasantly cool; 
and Hare, finding August Naab uncommunicative and 
sleepy, strolled along the rim of the cliff, as he had been 
wont to do in the sheep-herding days. He could scarcely 
dissociate them from the present, for the bitter-sweet 
smell of tree and bush, the almost inaudible sigh of breeze, 
the opening and shutting of the great white stars in the 
blue dome, the silence, the sense of the invisible void 
beneath him — all were thought-provoking parts of that past 
of which nothing could ever be forgotten. And it was a 
silence which brought much to the ear that could hear. It 
was a silence penetrated by faint and distant sounds, 
by mourning wolf, or moan of wind in a splintered crag. 
Weird and low, an inarticulate voice, it wailed up from the 
desert, winding along the hollow trail, freeing itself in the 
wide air, and -dying away. He had often heard the scream 
of lion and cry of wildcat, but this was the strange sound 
of which August Naab had told him, the mysterious call 
of caiion and desert night. 

Daylight showed Echo Cliffs to be of vastly greater 
range than the sister plateau across the river. The roll of 

^75 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

/edar level, the heave of craggy ridge, the dip of v^hite-sage 
valley gave this side a diversity widely differing from the 
two steps of the Vermillion tableland. August Naab fol» 
lowed a trail leading back toward the river. For the most 
part thick cedars hid the surroundings from Hare's view; 
occasionally, however, he had a backward glimpse from a 
high point, or a wide prospect below, where the trail over- 
looked an oval hemmed-in valley. 

About midday August Naab brushed through a thicket, 
and came abruptly on a declivity. He turned to his com- 
panion with a wave of his hand. 

"The Navajo camp," he said. "Eschtah has lived there 
for many years It's the only permanent Navajo camp I 
know. These Indians are nomads. Most of them live 
wherever the sheep lead them. This plateau ranges for a 
hundred miles, farther than any white man knows, and 
everywhere, in the valleys and green nooks, will be found 
Navajo hogans. That's why we may never find Mescal." 

Hare's gaze travelled down over the tips of cedar and 
crag to a pleasant vale, dotted with round mound-like white- 
streaked hogans, from which lazy floating columns of blue 
smoke curled upward. Mustangs and burros and sheep 
browsed on the white patches of grass. Bright-red blankets 
blazed on the cedar branches. There was slow colorful 
movement of Indians, passing in and out of their homes. 
The scene brought irresistibly to Hare the thought of sum- 
mer, of long warm afternoons, of leisure that took no stock 
of time. 

On the way down the trail they encountered a flock of 
sheep driven by a little Navajo boy on a brown burro. It 
was difficult to tell which was the more surprised, the long- 

176 



ECHO CLIFFS 

eared burro, which stood stock-still, or the boy, who first 
kicked and pounded his shaggy steed, and then jumped off 
and ran with black locks flying. Farther down Indian 
girls started up from their tasks, and darted silently into 
the shade of the cedars. August Naab whooped when 
he reached the valley, and Indian braves appeared, to 
cluster round him, shake his hand and Hare's, and lead 
them toward the centre of the encampment. 

The hogans where these desert savages dwelt were all 
alike; only the chief's was larger. From without it resem- 
bled a mound of clay with a few white logs, half imbedded, 
shining against the brick red. August Naab drew aside a 
blanket hanging over a door, and entered, beckoning his 
companion to follow. Inured as Hare had become to the 
smell and smart of wood-smoke, for a moment he could not 
see, or scarcely breathe, so thick was the atmosphere. A 
fire, the size of which attested the desert Indian's love of 
warmth, blazed in the middle of the hogan, and sent part 
of its smoke upward through a round hole in the roof. 
Eschtah, with blanket over his shoulders, his lean black 
head bent, sat near the fire. He noted the entrance of his 
visitors, but immediately resumed his meditative posture, 
and appeared to be unaware of their presence. 

Hare followed August's example, sitting down and speak- 
ing no word. His eyes, however, roved discreetly to and 
fro. Eschtah's three wives presented great differences in 
age and appearance. The eldest was a wrinkled, parch- 
ment-skinned old hag who sat sightless before the fire; the 
next was a solid square squaw, employed in the task of 
combing a naked boy's hair with a comb made of stiff thin 
roots tied tightly in a round bunch. Judging from the 

177 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

youngster's actions and grimaces, this combing process was 
not a pleasant one. The third wife, much younger, had a 
comely face, and long braids of black hair, of which, evi- 
dently, she was proud. She leaned on her knees over a 
flat slab of rock, and holding in her hands a long oval 
stone, she rolled and mashed com into meal. There were 
young braves, handsome in their bronze-skinned way, vrith 
bands binding their straight thick hair, silver rings in their 
ears, silver bracelets on their wrists, silver buttons on 
their moccasins. There were girls who looked up from their 
blanket-weaving with shy curiosity, and then turned to their 
frames strung with long threads. Under their nimble fingers 
the wool-carrying needles slipped in and out, and the colored 
stripes grew apace. Then there were younger boys and 
girls, all bright-eyed and curious; and babies sleeping on 
blankets. Where the walls and ceiling were not covered 
with buckskin garments, weapons and blankets. Hare saw 
the white wood-ribs of the hogan structure. It was a work 
of art, this circular house of forked logs and branches, inter- 
woven into a dome, arched and strong, and all covered and 
cemented with clay. 

At a touch of August's hand Hare turned to the old chief; 
and awaited his speech. It came with the uplifting of 
Eschtah's head, and the offering of his hand in the white 
man's salute. August's replies were slow and labored; 
he could not speak the Navajo language fluently, but he 
understood it. 

"The White Prophet is welcome," was the chief's greet- 
ing. "Does he come for sheep or braves or to honor the 
Navajo in his home ?" 

"Eschtah, he seeks the Flower of the Desert," replied 
178 



ECHO CLIFFS 

August Naab. "Mescal has left him. Her trail leads to 
the bitter waters under the cliff, and then is as a bird's." 

"Eschtah has waited, yet Mescal has not come to him." 

"She has not been here ?" 

"Mescal's shadow has not gladdened the Navajo's door." 

"She has climbed the crags or wandered into the caiions. 
The white father loves her; he must find her." 

"Eschtah's braves and mustangs are for his friend's use. 
The Navajo will find her if she is not as the grain of drifting 
sand. But is the White Prophet wise '.a his years ? Let 
the Flower of the Desert take root in the soil of her fore- 
fathers." 

"Eschtah's wisdom is great, but he thinks only of Indian 
blood. Mescal is half white, and her ways have been the 
ways of the white man. Nor does Eschtah think of the 
white man's love." 

"The desert has called. Where is the White Prophet's 
vision ? White blood and red blood will not mix. The 
Indian's blood pales in the white man's stream; or it bums 
red for the sun and the waste and the wild. Eschtah's 
forefathers, sleeping here in the silence, have called the 
Desert Flower." 

"It is true. But the white man is bound; he cannot be 
as the Indian; he does not content himself with life as it is; 
he hopes and prays for change; he believes in the progress 
of his race on earth. Therefore Eschtah's white friend 
seeks Mescal; he has brought her up as his own; he 
wants to take her home, to love her better, to trust to the 
future." 

"The white man's ways are white man's ways. Eschtah 
understands. He remembers his daughter lying here. He 

179 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

closed her dead eyes and sent word to his white friend. He 
named this child for the flower that blows in the wind of 
silent places.! Eschtah gave his granddaughter to his 
friend. She has been the bond between them. Now she 
is flown and the White Father seeks the Navajo. Let him 
command. Eschtah has spoken." 

Eschtah pressed into Naab's service a band of young 
braves, under the guidance of several warriors who knew 
every trail of the range, every waterhole, every cranny 
where even a woli might hide. They swept the river-end 
of the plateau, and working westward, scoured the levels, 
ridges, valleys, climbed to the peaks, and sent their Indian 
dogs into the thickets and caves. From Eschtah's encamp- 
ment westward the hogans diminished in number till only 
one here and there was discovered, hidden under a yellow 
wall, or amid a clump of cedars. All the Indians met with 
were sternly questioned by the chiefs, their dwellings were 
searched, and the ground about their waterholes was closely 
examined. Mile after mile the plateau was covered by 
these Indians, who beat the brush and penetrated the 
fastnesses with a hunting instinct that left scarcely a rabbit- 
burrow unrevealed. The days sped by; the circle of the 
sun arched higher; the patches of snow in high places dis- 
appeared; and the search proceeded westward. They 
camped where the night overtook them, sometimes near 
water and grass, sometimes in bare dry places. To the 
westward the plateau widened. Rugged ridges rose here 
and there, and seared crags split the sky like sharp saw- 
teeth. And after many miles of wild up-ranging they reached 
a divide which marked the line of Eschtah's domain. 

Naab's dogged persistence and the Navajos' faithfulness 
i8o 



ECHO CLIFFS 

carried them into the country of the Moki Indians, a tribe 
classed as slaves by the proud race of Eschtah. Here they 
searched the villages and ancient tombs and ruins, but of 
Mescal there was never a trace. 

Hare rode as diligently and searched as indefatigably as 
August, but he never had any real hope of finding the girl. 
To hunt for her, however, despite its hopelessness, was a 
melancholy satisfaction, for never was she out of his 
mind. 

Nor was the month's hard riding with the Navajos with- 
out profit. He made friends with the Indians, and learned 
to speak many of their words. Then a whole host of desert 
tricks became part of his accumulating knowledge. In 
climbing the crags, in looking for water and grass, in loosing 
Sllvermane at night and searching for him at dawn, in mark- 
ing tracks on hard ground, in all the sight and feeling and 
smell of desert things he learned much from the Navajos. 
The whole outward life of the Indian was concerned with 
the material aspect of Nature — dust, rock, air, wind, smoke, 
the cedars, the beasts of the desert. These things made up 
the Indians' day. The Navajos were worshippers of the 
physical; the sun was their supreme god. In the mornings 
when the gray of dawn flushed to rosy red they began their 
chant to the sun. At sunset the Navajos were watchful and 
silent with faces westward. The Moki Indians also. Hare 
observed, had their morning service to the great giver of 
light. In the gloom of early dawn, before the pink ap- 
peared in the east, and all was whitening gray, the Mokis 
emerged from their little mud and stone huts and sat upon 
the roofs with blanketed and drooping heads. 

One day August Naab showed in few words how sig- 
i8i 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

nificant a factor the sun was in the lives of desert 
men. 

"We've got to turn back," he said to Hare. "The sun's 
getting hot and the snow will melt in the mountains. If the 
Colorado rises too high we can't cross." 

They were two days in riding back to the encampment. 
Eschtah received them in dignified silence, expressive of his 
regret. When their time of departure arrived he accom- 
panied them to the head of the nearest trail, which started 
down from Saweep Peak, the highest point of Echo CliflFs. 
It was the Navajos' outlook over the Painted Desert. 

"Mescal is there," said August Naab. "She's there 
with the slave Eochtah gave her. He leads Mescal. Who 
can follow him there ?" 

The old chieftain reined in his horse, beside the time- 
hollowed trail, and the same hand that waved his white 
friend downward swept up in slow stately gesture toward 
the illimitable expanse. It was a warrior's salute to an 
unconquered world. Hare saw in his falcon eyes the still 
gleam, the brooding fire, the mystical passion that haunted 
the eyes of Mescal. 

"The slave without a tongue is a wolf He scents the 
trails and the waters. Eschtah's eyes have grown old 
wjttching here, but he has seen no Indian who could follow 
Mescal's slave. Eschtah will lie there, but no Indian will 
know the path to the place of his sleep. Mescal's trail is 
lost in the sand. No man may find it. Eschtah's words 
are wisdom. Look!" 

To search for any living creatures in that borderless 
domain of colored dune, of shifting cloud of sand, of purple 
curtain shrouding mesa and dome, appeared the vainest of 

182 



ECHO CLIFFS 

all human endeavors. It seemed a veritable rainbow realm 
of the sun. At first only the beauty stirred Hare — ^he saw 
the copper belt close under the cliffs, the white beds of alkali 
and washes of silt farther out, the wind-ploughed canons 
and dust-encumbered ridges ranging west and east, the 
scalloped slopes of the flat tableland rising low, the tips of 
volcanic peaks leading the eye beyond to veils and vapors 
hovering over blue clefts and dim line of level lanes, and so 
on, and on, out to the vast unknown. Then Hare grasped 
a little of its meaning. It was a sun-painted, sun-governed 
world. Here was deep and majestic Nature eternal and un- 
changeable. But it was only through Eschtah's eyes that 
he saw its parched slopes, its terrifying desolateness, its 
sleeping death. 

When the old chieftain's lips opened Hare anticipated the 
austere speech, the import that meant only pain to him, 
and his whole inner being seemed to shrink. 

"The White Prophet's child of red blood is lost to him," 
said Eschtah. "The Flower of the Desert is as a grain of 
drifting sand." 



XIII 

THE SOMBRE LINE 

AUGUST NAAB hoped that Mescal might have returned 
L in his absence; but to Hare such hope was vain. The 
women of the oasis met them with gloomy faces presaging 
bad news, and they were reluctant to tell it. Mescal's 
flight had been forgotten in the sterner and sadder mis- 
fortune that had followed. 

Snap Naab's wife lay dangerously ill, the victim of his 
drunken frenzy. For days after the departure of August 
and Jack the man had kept himself in a stupor; then his 
store of drink failing, he had come out of his almost sense- 
less state into an insane frenzy. He had tried to kill his 
wife and wreck his cottage, being prevented in the nick of 
time by Dave Naab, the only one of his brothers who dared 
approach him. Then he had ridden off on the White Sage 
trail and had not been heard from since. 

The Mormon put forth all his skill in surgery and medicine 
to save the life of his son's wife, but he admitted that he had 
grave misgivings as to her recovery. But these in no man- 
ner affected his patience, gentleness, and cheer. While 
there was life there was hope, said August Naab. He bade 
Hare, after he had rested awhile, to pack and ride out to the 
range, and tell his sons that he would come later. 

It was a relief to leave the oasis, and Hare started the same 

184 



THE SOMBRE LINE 

day, and made Silver Cup that night. As he rode under 
the low-branching cedars toward the bright camp-fire he 
looked about him sharply. But not one of the four faces 
ruddy in the glow belonged to Snap Naab. 

"Hello, Jack," called Dave Naab, into" the dark. "I 
knew that was you. Silvermane sure rings bells when he 
hoofs it down the stones. How're you and dad ? and did 
you find Mescal ? I'll bet that desert child led you clear to 
the Little Colorado." 

Hare told the story of the fruitless search. 

"It's no more than we expected," said Dave. "The man 
' doesn't live who can trail the peon. Mescal's like a captured 
wild mustang that's slipped her halter and gone free. 
She'll die out there on the desert or turn into a stalk of the 
Indian cactus for which she's named. It's a pity, for she's 
a good girl, too good for Snap." 

"What's your news?" inquired Hare. 

"Oh, nothing much," replied Dave, with a short laugh. 
"The cattle wintered well. We've had little to do but hang 
round and watch. Zeke and I chased old Whitefoot one 
day, and got pretty close to Seeping Springs. We met Joe 
Stube, a rider who was once a friend of Zeke's. He's with 
Holderness now, and he said that Holderness had rebuilt 
the corrals at the spring; also he has put up a big cabin, 
and he has a dozen riders there. Stube told us Snap had 
been shooting up White Sage. He finished up by killing 
Snood. They got into an argument about you." 

"About me!" 

"Yes, it seems that Snood took your part, and Snap 
wouldn't stand for it. Too bad! Snood was a good fellow. 
There's no use talking, Snap's going too far — ^he is — " 

185 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Dave did not conclude his remark, and the silence was more 
. significant than any utterance. 

"What will the Mormons in White Sage say about Snap's 
killing Snood ?" 

"They've said a lot. This even-break business goes all 
right among gun-fighters, but the Mormons call killing 
murder. They've outlawed Culver, and Snap will be out- 
lawed next." 

"Your father hinted that Snap would find the desert too 
small for him and me ?" 

" Jack, you can't be too careful. I've wanted to speak to 
you about it. Snap will ride in here some day and then — " 
Dave's pause was not reassuring. 

And it was only on the third day after Dave's remark that 
Hare, riding down the mountain with a deer he had shot, 
looked out from the trail and saw Snap's cream pinto trotting 
toward Silver Cup. Beside Snap rode a tall man on a big 
bay. When Hare reached camp he reported to George 
and Zeke what he had seen, and learned in reply that Dave 
had already caught sight of the horsemen, and had gone 
down to the edge of the cedars. While they were speaking 
Dave hurriedly ran up the trail. 

"It's Snap and Holderness," he called out, sharply. 
"What's Snap doing with Holderness ? What's he bring- 
ing him here for ?" 

"I don't like the looks of it," replied Zeke, deliber- 
ately. 

" Jack, what '11 you do ?" asked Dave, suddenly. 

" Do ? What can I do ? I'm not going to run out of 
catnp because of a visit from men who don't like me." 

"It might be wisest." 

i86 



THE SOMBRE LINE 

"Do you ask me to run to avoid a meeting with your 
brother ?" 

"No." The dull red came to Dave's cheek. "But will 
you draw on him ?" 

"Certainly not. He's August Naab's son and your 
brother." 

"Yes, and you're my friend, which Snap won't think of. 
Will you draw on Holderness, then ?" 

"For the life of me, Dave, I can't tell you," replied Hare, 
pacing the trail. "Something must break loose in me be- 
fore I can kill a man. I'd draw, I suppose, in self-defence. 
But what good would it do me to pull too late ? Dave, this 
thing is what I've feared. I'm not afraid of Snap or Holder- 
ness, not that way. I mean I'm not ready. Look here, 
would either of them shoot an unarmed man ?" 

" Lord, I hope not; I don't think so. But you're packing 
your gun." 

Hare uhbuckled his cartridge-belt, which held his Colt, 
and hung it over the pommel of his saddle; then he sat 
down on one of the stone seats near the camp-fire. 

"There they come," whispered Zeke, and he rose to his 
feet, followed by George. 

"Steady, you fellows," said Dave, with a warning glance. 
"I'll do the talking." 

Holderness and Snap appeared among the cedars, and 
trotting out into the glade reined in their mounts a few paces 
from the fire. Dave Naab stood directly before Hare, 
and George and Zeke stepped aside. 

"Howdy, boys?" called out Holderness, with a smile, 
which was like a gleam of light playing on a frozen lake. 
His amber eyes were steady, their gaze contracted into 
13 187 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

piercing yellow points. Dave studied the cattle-man with 
cool scorn, but refusing to speak to him, addressed his 
brother. 

"Snap, what do you mean by riding in here with this 
fellow ?" 

"I'm Holderness's new foreman. We're just looking 
round," replied Snap. The hard lines, the sullen shade, 
the hawk-beak cruelty had returned tenfold to his face, 
and his glance was like a living, leaping flame. 

"New foreman!" exclaimed Dave. His jaw dropped and 
he stared in amazement. "No — ^you can't mean that — 
you're drunk!" 

"That's what I said," growled Snap. 

"You're a liar!" shouted Dave, a crimson blot blurring 
with the brown on his cheeks. He jumped off the ground 
in his fury. 

"It's true, Naab; he's my new foreman," put in Holder- 
ness, suavely. "A hundred a month — in gold — and I've 
got as good a place for you." 

"Well, by G — d!" Dave's arms came down and his face 
blanched to his lips. "Holderness!" 

"I know what you'd say," interrupted the ranchman. 
"But stop it. I know you're game. And what's the use 
of fighting ? I'm talking business. I'll — " 

"You can't talk business or anything else to me," said 
Dave Naab, and he vpered sharply toward his brother. 
"Say it again. Snap Naab. You've hired out to ride for 
this man ?" 

"That's it." 

"You're going against your father, your brothers, your 
own flesh and blood ?" 

i88 



THE SOMBRE LINE 

"I can't see it that way." 

"Then you're a drunken, easily-led fool. This man's no 
rancher. He's a rustler. He ruined Martin Cole, the 
father of your first wife. He's stolen our cattle; he's 
jumped our water-rights. He's trying to break us. For 
God's sake, ain't you a man ?" 

"Things have gone bad for me," replied Snap, sullenly, 
shifting in his saddle. "I reckon I'll do better to cut out 
alone for myself." 

"You crooked cur! But you're only my half-brother, 
after all. I always knew you'd come to something bad, 
but I never thought you'd disgrace the Naabs and break 
your father's heart. Now then, what do you want here F 
Be quick. This's our range and you and your boss can't 
ride here. You can't even water your horses. Out with it!" 

At this. Hare, who had been so absorbed as to forget him- 
self, suddenly felt a cold tightening of the skin of his face, 
and a hard swell of his breast. The dance of Snap's eyes, 
the downward flit of his hand seemed instantaneous with a 
red flash and loud report. Instinctively Hare dodged, but 
the light impact of something like a pufF of air gave place 
to a tearing hot agony. Then he slipped down, back to the 
stone, with a bloody hand fumbling at his breast. 

Dave leaped with tigerish agility, and knocking up the 
levelled Colt, held Snap as in a vise. George Naab gave 
Holderness's horse a sharp kick which made the mettlesome 
beast jump so suddenly that his rider was nearly unseated. 
Zeke ran to Hare and laid him back against the stone. 

"Cool down, there!" ordered Zeke. "He's done for." 

"My God — my God!" cried Dave, in a broken voice. 
"Not— not dead?" 

189 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"Shot through the heart!" 

Dave Naab flung Snap backward, almost off his horse. 

"D n you! run, or I'll kill you. And you, Holdemess! 

Remember! If we ever meet again — ^you draw!" He tore 
a branch from a cedar and slashed both horses. They 
plunged out of the glade, and clattering over the stones, 
brushing the cedars, disappeared. Dave groped blindly 
back toward his brothers. 

"Zeke, this's awful. Another murder by Snap! And 
my friend! . . . Who's to tell father ?" 

Then Hare sat up, leaning against the ston^, his shirt 
open and his bare shoulder bloody; his face was pale, but 
his eyes were smiling. "Cheer up, Dave. I'm not dead 
yet." 

"Sure he's not," said Zeke. "He ducked none too soon, 
or too late, and caught the bullet high up in the shoulder." 

Dave sat down very quietly without a word, and the hand 
he laid on Hare's knee shook a little. 

"When I saw George go for his gun," went on Zeke, 
"I knew there'd be a lively time in a minute if it wasn't 
stopped, so I just said Jack was dead." 

" Do you think they came over to get me ?" asked 
Hare. 

"No doubt," replied Dave, lifting his face and wiping 
the sweat from his brow. "I knew that from the first, but 
'l was so dazed by Snap's going over to Holdemess that I 
couldn't keep my wits, and I didn't mark Snap edging over 
till too late." 

"Listen, I hear horses,"- said Zeke, looking up from his 
task over Hare's wound. 

" It's Billy, up on the home trail," added George, "Yes, 
190 



THE SOMBRE LINE 

and there's father with him. Good Lord, must we tell him 
about Snap ?" 

" Some one must tell him," answered Dave. 

"That '11 be you, then. You always do the talking." 

August Naab galloped into the glade, and swung himself 
out of the saddle. "I heard a shot. What's this ? Who's 
hurt ? — Hare! Why — lad — how is it with you ?" 

"Not bad," rejoined Hare. 

"Let me see," August thrust Zeke aside. "A bullet-hole 
— just missed the bone — not serious. Tie it up tight. I'll 
take him home to-morrow. . . . Hare, who's been 
here ?" 

"Snap rode in and left his respects." 

"Snap! Already? Yet I knew it — I saw it. You had 
Providence with you, lad, fpr this wound is not bad. Snap 
surprised you, then ?" 

"No. I knew it was coming." 

"Jack hung his belt and gun on Silvermane's saddle," 
said Dave. "He didn't feel as if he could draw on either 
Snap or Holdemess — " 

"Holdemess!" 

"Yes. Snap rode in with Holdemess. Hare thought 
if he was unarmed they wouldn't draw. But Snap did." 

"Was he drunk ?" 

"No. They came over to kill Hare." Dave went on to 
recount the incident in full. "And — and see here, dad — ( 
that's not all. Snap's gone to the bad." 

Dave Naab hid his face while he told of his brother's 
treachery; the others turned away, and Hare closed his 
eyes. 

For long moments there was silence broken only by the 
191 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

tramp of the old man as he Strode heavily to and fro. At last 
the footsteps ceased, and Hare opened his eyes to see Naab's 
tall form erect, his arms uplifted, his shaggy head rigid. 

""Hare," began August, presently. "I'm responsible for 
diis cowardly attack on you. I brought you out here. 
This is the second one. Beware of the third! I see — but 
tell me, do you remember that I said you must meet Snap 
as man to man i" 

"Yes." 

"Don't you want to live ?" 

"Of course." 

"You hold to no Mormon creed ?" 

"Why, no," Hare replied, wonderingly. 

"What was the reason I taught you my trick with a gun ?" 

"I suppose it was to help me to defend myself." 

"Then why do you let yourself be shot down in cold 
blood? Why did you hang up your gun ? Why didn't you- 
draw on Snap ? Was it because of his father, his brothers, 
his family ?" 

"Partly, but not altogether," replied Hare, slowly. "I 
didn't know before what I know now. My flesh sickened 
at the thought of killing a man, even to save my own life; 
and to kill — ^your son — " 

"No son of mine!" thundered Naab. "Remember that 
when next you meet. I don't want your blood on my hands. 
Don't stand to be killed like a sheep! If you have felt duty 
to me, I release you." 

Zeke finished bandaging the wound. Making a bed 
of blankets he lifted Hare into it, and covered him, 
cautioning him to lie still. Hare had a sensation of extreme 
lassitude, a deep drowsiness which permeated even to his 

192 



THE SOMBRE LINE 

bones. There were intervals of oblivion, then a time when 
the stars blinked in his eyes; he heard the wind, Silver- 
mane i bell, the murmur of voices, yet all seemed remote 
from him, intangible 2^ things in a dream. 

He rode home next day, drooping in the saddle and 
fainting at the end of the trail, with the strong arm of August 
Naab upholding him. His wound was dressed and he was 
put to bed, where he lay sleeping most of the time, brooding 
the rest. 

In three weeks he was in the saddle again, riding out over 
the red strip of desert toward the range. During his con- 
valescence he had learned that he had come to the sombre 
line of choice. Either he must deliberately back away, 
and show his unfitness to survive in the desert, or he 
must step across into its dark wilds. The stern question 
haunted him. Yet he knew a swift decision waited on the 
crucial moment. 

He sought lonely rides more than ever, and, like Silver- 
mane, he was always watching and listening. His duties 
carried him half way to Seeping Springs, across the valley 
to the red wall, up the slope of Coconina far into the forest 
of stately pines. What with Silvermane's wonderful scent 
and sight, and his own constant watchfulness, there were 
never range-riders or wild horses nor even deer near him 
without his knowledge. 

The days flew by; spring had long since given place to 
summer; the blaze of sun and blast of flying sand were 
succeeded by the cooling breezes from the mountain; 
October brought the flurries of snow and November the 
dark storm-clouds. 

Hare was the last of the riders to be driven off the moun- 
193 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

tain. The brothers were waiting for him at Silver Cup, and 
they at once packed and started for home. 

August Naab listened to the details of the range-riding 
since his absence, with silent surpiise. Holderness and 
Snap had kept away from Silver Cup after the supposed 
killing of Hare. Occasionally a group of horsemen rode 
across the valley or up a trail within sight of Dave and his 
followers, but there was never a meeting. Not a steer had 
been driven off the range that summer and fall; and except 
for the menace always hanging in the blue smoke over 
Seeping Springs the range-riding had passed without un- 
usual incident. 

So for Hare the months had gone by swiftly; though when 
he looked back afterward they seemed years. The winter 
at the oasis he filled as best he could, with the children 
playing in the yard, with Silvermane under the sunny lee 
of the great red wall, with any work that offered itself. 
It was during the long evenings, when he could not be active, 
that time oppressed him, and the memories of the past hurt 
him. A glimpse of the red sunset through the cliff-gate 
toward the west would start the train of thought; he both 
loved and hated the Painted Desert. Mescal was there in 
the purple shadows. He dreamed of her in the glowing 
embers of the log-fire. He saw her on Black Bolly with 
hair flying free to the wind. And he could not shut out the 
picture of her sitting in the corner of the room, silent, with 
bowed head, while the man to whom she was pledged hung 
close over her. That memory had a sting. It was like a 
spark of fire dropped on the wound in his breast where the 
des^t-hawk had struck him. It was like a light gleaming 
on the sombre line he was waiting to cross. 

194 



XIV 

WOLF 

ON the anniversary of the night Mescal disappeared 
the mysterious voice which had called to Hare so often 
and so strangely again pierced his slumber, and brought him 
bolt upright in his bed shuddering and listening. The dark 
room was as quiet as a tomb. He fell back into his blankets 
trembling with emotion. Sleep did not close his eyes again 
that night; he lay in a fever waiting for the dawn, and when 
the gray gloom lightened he knew what he must do. 

After breakfast he sought August Naab. "May I go 
across the river ?" he asked. 

The old man looked up from his carpenter's task and 
fastened his glance on Hare. "Mescal?" 

"Yes." 

"I saw it long ago." He shook his head and spread his 
great hands. "There's no use for me to say what the desert 
is. If you ever come back you'll bring her. Yes, you may 
go. It's a man's deed. God keep you!" 

Hare spoke to no other person; he filled one saddle-bag 
with grain, another with meat, bread, and dried fruits, 
strapped a five-gallon leather water-sack back of Silver- 
mane's saddle, arid set out toward the river. At the cross- 
ing-bar he removed Silvermane's equipments and placed 
them in the boat. At that moment a long howl, as of a 

195 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

dog baying the 'moon, startled him from his musings, and 
his eyes sought the river-bank, up and down, and then the 
opposite side. An animal, which at first he took to be a 
gray timber - wolf, was running along the sand-bar of the 
landing. 

"Pretty white for a wolf," he muttered. "Might be a 
Navajo dog." 

The beast sat down on his haunches and, lifting a lean 
head, sent up a doleful howl. Then he began trotting along 
the bar, every few paces stepping to the edge of the water. 
Presently he spied Hare, and he began to bark furiously. 

"It's a dog all right; wants to get across," said Hare. 
"Where have I seen him ?" 

Suddenly he sprang to his feet, almost upsetting the boat. 
"He's like Mescal's Wolf!" He looked closer, his heart 
beginning to thump, and then he yelled: "Ki-yi! Wolf! 
Hyer! Hyer!" 

The dog leaped straight up in the air, and coming down, 
began to dash back and forth along the sand with piercing 
yelps. 

"It's Wolf! Mescal must be near," cried Hare. A veil 
obscured his sight, and every vein was like a hot cord. 
"Wolf! Wolf! I'm coming!" 

With trembling hands he tied Silvermane's bridle to 
the stern seat of the boat and pushed oflF". In his eager- 
ness he rowed too hard, dragging Silvermane's nose under 
water, and he had to check himself. Time and again he 
turned to call to the dog. At length the bow grated on the 
sand, and Silvermane emerged with a splash and a snort 

"Wolf, old fellow!" cried Hare. "Where's Mescal? 
Wolf, where is she ?" He threw his arms around the dog. 

196 



WOLF 

Wolf whined, licked Hare's face, and breaking away, ran up 
the sandy trail, and back again. But he barked no more; 
he waited to see if Hare was following. 

"All right, Wolf — coming." Never had Hare saddled so 
speedily, nor mounted so quickly. He sent Silvermane into 
the willow-skirted trail close behind the dog, up on the rocky 
bench, and then under the bulging wall. Wolf reached the 
level between the canon and Echo Cliffs, and then started 
straight west toward the Painted Desert. He trotted a few 
rods and turned to see if the man was coming. 

Doubt, fear, uncertainty ceased for Hare. With the first 
blast of dust-scented air in his face he knew Wolf was lead- 
ing him to Mescal. He knew that the cry he had heard in 
his dream was hers, that the old mysterious promise of the 
desert had at last begun its fulfilment. He gave one sharp 
exultant answer to that call. The horizon, ever-widening, 
lay before him, and the treeless plains, the sun-scorched 
slopes, the sandy stretches, the massed blocks of black 
mesas, all seemed to welcome him; his soul sang within 
him. 

For Mescal was there. Far away she must be, a mere 
grain of sand in all that world of drifting sands, perhaps ill, 
perhaps hurt, but alive, waiting for him, calling for him, 
crying out with a voice that no distance could silence. He 
did not see the sharp peaks as pitiless barriers, nor the mesas 
and domes as black-faced death, nor the moisture-drinking 
sands as life-sucking foes to plant and beast and man. 
That painted wonderland had sheltered Mescal for a year. 
He had loved it for its color, its change, its secrecy; he loved 
it now because it had not been a grave for Mescal, but a 
home. Therefore he laughed at the deceiving yellow dis- 

197 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

tances in the foreground of glistenirtg mesas, at the deceiving 
purple distances of the far-off horizon. The wind blew a 
song in his ears; the dry desert odors were fragrance in his 
nostrils; the sand tasted sweet between his teeth, and the 
quivering heat-waves, veiling the desert in transparent haze, 
framed beautiful pictures for his eyes. 

Wolf kept to the fore for some thirty paces, and though he 
had ceased to stop, he still looked back to see if the horse 
and man were following. Hare had noted the dog occasion- 
ally in the first hours of travel, but he had given his eyes 
mostly to the broken line of sky and desert in the west, to 
the receding contour of Echo Cliffs, to the spread and 
break of the desert near at hand. Here and there life 
showed itself in a gaunt coyote sneaking into the cactus, 
or a horned toad huddling down in the dust, or a jewel-eyed 
lizard sunning himself upon a stone. It was only when his 
excited fancy had cooled that Hare came to look closely at 
Wolf. But for the dog's color he could not have been dis- 
tinguished from a real wolf His head and ears and tail 
drooped, and he was lame in his right front paw. 

Hare halted in the shade of a stone, dismounted and called 
the dog to him. Wolf returned without quickness, without 
eagerness, without any of the old-time friendliness of shep- 
herding days. His eyes were sad and strange. Hare felt a 
sudden foreboding, but rejected it with passionate force. Yet 
a chill remained. Lifting Wolf's paw he discovered that the 
ball of the foot was worn through; whereupon he called into 
service a piece of buckskin, and f£.shioning a rude moccasin 
he tied it round the foot. Wolf licked his hand, but there 
was no change in the sad light of his eyes. He turned tow- 
ard the west as if anxious to be off. 

198 



WOLF 

"All right, old fellow," said Hare, "only go slow. From 
the look of that foot I think you've turned back on a long 
trail." 

Again they faced the west, dog leading, man following, 
and addressed themselves to a gradual ascent. When 
it had been surmounted Hare realized that his ride so far 
had brought him only through an anteroom; the real portal 
now stood open to the Painted Desert. The immensity of 
the thing seemed to reach up to him with a thousand lines, 
ridges, canons, all ascending out of a purple gulf. The 
arms of the desert enveloped him, a chill beneath their 
warmth. 

As he descended into the valley, keeping close to Wolf, he 
marked a straight course in line with a volcanic spur. 
He was , surprised when the dog, though continually 
threading jumbles of rock, heading canons, crossing deep 
washes, and going round obstructions, always veered back 
to this bearing as true as a compass-needle to its magnet. 

Hare felt the air growing warmer and closer as he con- 
tinued the descent. By mid-afternoon, when he had 
travelled perhaps thirty miles, he was moist from head to 
foot, and Silvermane's coat was wet. Looking backward 
Hare had a blank feeling of loss; the sweeping line of Echo 
Cliffs had retreated behind the horizon. There was no 
familiar landmark left. 

Sunset brought him to a standstill, as much from its 
sudden glorious gathering of brilliant crimsons splashed 
with gold, as from its warning that the day was done. 
Hare made his camp beside a stone which would serve as a 
wind-break. He laid his saddle for a pillow and his blanket 
for a be4r He gave Silvermane a nose-bag fujl of waten 

199 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

and then one of grain; he fed the dog, and aftei-ward at- 
tended to his own needs. When his task was done the 
desert brightness had faded to gray; the warm air had 
blown away on a cool breeze, and night approached. He 
scooped out a little hollow in the sand for his hips, took a 
last look at Silvermane haltered to the rock, and calling 
Wolf to his side stretched himself to rest. He was used to 
lying on the ground, under the open sky, out where the wind 
blew and the sand seeped in, yet all these were different on 
this night. He was in the Pa"nted Desert; Wolf crept close 
to him; Mescal lay somewhere under the blue-white stars. 

He awakened and arose before any color of dawn hinted 
of the day. While he fed his four-footed companions the 
sky warmed and lightened. A tinge of rose gathered in the 
east. The air was cool and transparent. He tried to cheef 
Wolf out of his sad-eyed forlornness, and failed. 

Hare vaulted into the saddle. The day had its possi- 
bilities, and while he had sobered down from his first un- 
thinking exuberance, there was still a ring in his voice as he 
called to the dog: 

"On, Wolf, on, old boy!" 

Out of the east burst the sun, and the gray curtain was 
lifted by shafts of pink and white and gold, flashing west- 
ward long trails of color. 

When they started the actions of the dog showed Hare 
that Wolf was not tracking a back-trail, but travelling by 
instinct. There were draws which necessitated a search 
for a crossing, and areas of broken rock which had to be 
rounded, and steep flat mesas rising in the path, and strips 
of deep sand and canons impassable for long distances. 
But the dog always found a way and always came back to 

200 



WOLF 

a line with the black spur that Hare had marked. It still 
stood in sharp relief, no nearer than before, receding with 
every step, an illusive landmark, which Hare began to 
distrust. 

Then quite suddenly it vanished in the ragged blue mass 
of the Ghost Mountains. Hare had seen them several 
times, though never so distinctly. The purple tips, the 
bold rock-ribs, the shadowed canons, so sharp and clear 
in the morning light — how impossible to believe that these 
were only the deceit of the desert mirage! Yet so they were; 
even for the Navajos they were spirit-mountains. 

The splintered desert-floor merged into an area of sand. 
Wolf slowed his trot, and Silvermane's hoofs sunk deep. 
Dismounting Hare labored beside him, and felt the heat 
steal through his boots and burn the soles of his feet. Hare 
plodded onward, stopping once to tie another moccasin on 
Wolf's worn paw, this time the left one; and often he pulled 
the stopper from the water-bag and cooled his parching 
lips and throat. The waves of the sand-dunes were as the 
waves of the ocean. He did not look backward, dreading 
to see what little progress he had made. Ahead were miles 
on miles of graceful heaps, swelling mounds, crested ridges, 
all different, yet regular and rhythmical, drift on drift, diine 
on dune, in endless waves. Wisps of sand were whipped 
from their summits in white ribbons and wreaths, and pale 
clouds of sand shrouded little hollows. The morning 
breeze, rising out of the west, approached in a rippling hne, 
like the crest of an inflowing tide. 

Silvermane snorted, lifted his ears and looked westward 
toward a yellow pall which swooped up from the desert. 

"Sand-storm," said Hare, and calling Wolf he made for 

201 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

the nearest rockthat was large enough to shelter them. The 
whirling sand-cloud mushroomed into an enormous desert 
covering, engulfing the dunes, obscuring the light. The sun- 
light failed; the day turned to gloom. Then an eddying 
fog of sand and dust enveloped Hare. His last glimpse be- 
fore he covered his face with a silk handkerchief was of 
sheets of sand streaming past his shelter. The storm came 
with a low, soft, hissing roar, like the sound in a sea-shell 
magnified. Breathing through the handkerchief Hare 
avoided inhaling the sand which beat against his face, but 
the finer dust particles filtered through and stifled him. 
At first he felt that he would suffocate, and he coughed and 
gasped; but presently, when the thicker sand-clouds had 
passed, he managed to get air enough to breathe. Then he 
waited patiently while the steady seeping rustle swept by, 
and die band of his hat sagged heavier, and the load on his 
shoulders had to be continually shaken off, and the weighty 
trap round his feet crept upward. When the light, fine 
touch ceased he removed the covering from his face to see 
himself standing nearly to his knees in sand, and Silver- 
mane's back and the saddle burdened with it. The storm 
was moving eastward, a dull red now witli the sun faintly 
showing through it like a ball of fire. 

"Well, Wolf, old boy, how many storms like that will we 
have to weather ?" asked Hare, in a cheery tone which he 
had to force. He knew these sand-storms were but vagaries 
of the desert-wind. Before the hour closed he had to seek 
the cover of a stone and wait for another to pass. Then 
he was caught in the open, with not a shelter in sight. He 
was compelled to turn his back to a third storm, the worst 
of all, and to bear as best he could the heavy impact of the 

202 



WOLF 

first blow, and the succeeding rush and flow of sand. After 
that his head drooped and he wearily trudged beside Silver- 
mane, dreading the interminable distance he must cover 
before once more gaining hard ground. But he discovered 
that it was useless to try to judge distance on the desert. 
What had appeared miles at his last look turned out to be 
only rods. 

It was good to get into the saddle again and face clear 
air. Far away the black spur again loomed up, now 
surrounded by groups of mesas with sage-slopes tinged with 
green. That surely meant the end of this long trail; the 
faint spots of green lent suggestion of a desert waterhole; 
there Mescal must be, hidden in some shady caiion. Hare 
built his. hopes anew. 

So he pressed on down a plain of bare rock dotted by 
huge bowlders; and out upon a level floor of scant sage and 
greasewood where a few living creatures, a desert-hawk 
sailing low, lizards darting into holes, and a swiftly running 
ground-bird, emphasized the lack of life in the waste. He 
entered a zone of clay-dunes of violet and heliotrope hues; 
and then a belt of lava and cactus. Reddish points studded 
the desert, and here and there were meagre patches of 
white grass. Far away myriads of cactus plants showed 
like a troop of distorted horsemen. As he went on the 
grass failed, and streams of jagged lava flowed downward. 
Beds of cinders told of the fury of a volcanic fire. Soon 
Hare had to dismount to make moccasins for Wolf's hind 
feet; and to lead Silvermane carefully over the cracked 
lava. For a while there were strips of ground bare of lava 
and harboring only an occasional bunch of cactus, but 
soon every foot free of the reddish iron bore a projecting 
14 203 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

mass of fierce spikes and thorns. The huge barrel-shaped 
cacti, and thickets of slender dark-green rods with bayonet 
points, and broad leaves with yellow spines, drove Hare 
and his sore-footed fellow-travellers to the lava. 

Hare thought there must be an end to it some time, yet k 
seemed as though he were never to cross that black forbid- 
ding inferno. Blistered by the heat, pierced by the thorns, 
lame from long toil on the lava, he was sorely spent when 
once more he stepped out upon the bare desert. On pitching 
camp he made the grievous discovery that the water-bag 
had leaked or the water had evaporated, for there was only 
etiough left for one more day. He ministered to thirsty 
dog and horse in silence, his mind revolving the grim fact 
of his situation. 

His little fire of greasewood threw a wan circle into the 
surrounding blackness. Not a sound hinted of life. He 
longed for even the bark of a coyote. Silvermane stooped 
motionless with tired head. Wolf stretched limply on the 
sand. Hare rolled into his blanket and stretched out 
with slow aching relief. 

He dredmed he was a boy roaming over the green hills 
of the old farm, wading through dewy clover-fields, and 
fishing in the Connecticut River. It was the long vacation- 
time, an endless freedom. Then he was at the swimming- 
hole, and playmates tied his clothes in knots, and with shouts 
of glee ran up the bank leaving him there to shiver. 

When he awakened the blazing globe of the sun had arisen 
over the eastern horizon, and the red of the desert swathed 
all the reach of valley. 

Hare pondered whether he should use his water at once or 
dole it out. That ball of fire in the sky, a glazed circle, like 

204 



WOLF 

iron at white heat, decided for him. The sun would be hot 
and would evaporate such water as leakage did not claim, 
and so he shared aUke with Wolf, and gave the rest to 
Silvermane. 

For an hour the mocking lilac mountains hung in the air 
and then paled in the intense light. The day was sound- 
less and windless, and the heat-waves rose from the 
desert like smoke. For Hare the realities were the baked 
clay flats, where Silvermane broke through at every step; 
the beds of alkali, which sent aloft clouds of powdered dust; 
the deep gullies full of round bowlders; thickets of mesquite 
and prickly thorn which tore at his legs; the weary detour 
to head the canons; the climb to get between two bridging 
mesas; and always the haunting presence of the sad-eyed 
dog. His unreaUties were the shimmering sheets of water 
in every low place; the baseless mountains floating in the 
air; the green slopes rising close at hand; beautiful buttes 
of dark blue riding the open sand, like monstrous barks at 
sea; the changing outlines of desert shapes in pink haze and 
veils of purple and white lustre — all illusions, all mysterious 
tricks of the mirage. 

In the heat of midday Hare yielded to its influence and 
reined in his horse under a slate - bank where there was 
shade. His face was swollen and peeling, and his lips had 
begun to dry and crack and taste of alkali. Then Wolf pat- 
tered on; Silvermane kept at his heels; Hare dozed in the 
saddle. His eyes burned in their sockets from the glare, 
and it was a relief to shut out the barren reaches. So the 
afternoon waned. 

Silvermane stumbled, jolting Hare out of his stupid 
kthargy. Before him spread a great field of bowlders with 

205 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

not a slope or a ridge or a mesa or an escarpment. Not 
even a tip of a spur rose in the background. He rubbed 
his sore eyes. Was this another illusion ? 

When Silvermane started onward Hare thought of the 
Navajos' custom to trust horse and dog in such an emer- 
gency. They were desert-bred; beyond human understand- 
ing were their sight and scent. He was at the mercy now 
of Wolf's instinct and Silvermane's endurance. Resigna- 
tion brought him a certain calmness of soul, cold as the 
touch of an icy hand on fevered cheek. He remembered 
the desert secret in Mescal's eyes; he was about to solve it. 
He remembered August Naab's words: "It's a man's 
deed!" If so, he had achieved the spirit of it, if not the 
letter. He remembered Eschtah's tribute to the wilderness 
of painted wastes: "There is the grave of the Navajo, 
and no qne knows the trail to the place of his sleep!" He 
remembered the something evermore about to be, the 
unknown always subtly calling; now it was revealed in the 
stone-fettering grip of the desert. It had opened wide to 
him, bright with its face of danger, beautiful with its painted 
windows, inscrutable v?ith its alluring call. Bidding him 
enter, it had closed behind him; now he looked upon it in 
its iron order, its strange ruins racked by fire, its inevitable 
remorselessness. 



XV 

, DESERT NIGHT 

THE gray stallion, finding the rein loose on his neck, 
trotted forward and overtook the dog, and thereafter 
followed at his heels. With the setting of the sun a slight 
breeze stirred, and freshened as twilight fell, rolling away 
the sultry atmosphere. Then the black desert night mantled 
the plain. 

For a while this blackness soothed the pain of Hare's 
sun-blinded eyes. It was a relief to have the unattainable 
horizon line blotted out. But by-and-by the opaque gloom 
brought home to him, as the day had never done, the reality 
of his solitude. He was alone in this immense place of 
barrenness, and his dumb companions were the world to 
him. Wolf pattered onward, a silent guide; and Silver- 
mane followed, never lagging, sure-footed in the dark, 
faithful to his master. All the love Hare had borne the 
horse was as nothing to that which came to him on this 
desert night. In and out, round and round, ever winding, 
ever zigzagging, Silvermane hung close to Wolf, and the 
sandy lanes between the bowlders gave forth no sound. 
Dog and horse, free to choose their trail, trotted onward 
miles and miles into the night. 

A pale light in the east turned to a glow, then to gold, 
and the round disc of the moon silhouetted the black 

207 



THE HERITAGE OP THE DESERT. 

bowlders on the horizon. It cleared the dotted line and 
rose, an oval orange-hued strange moon, not mellow nor 
silvery nor gloriously brilliant as Hare had known it in the 
past, but a vast dead-gold melancholy orb, rising sadly over 
the desert. To Hare it was the crowning reminder of life= 
lessness; it fitted this world of dull gleaming stones. 

Silvermane went lame and slackened his trot, causing 
Hare to rein in and dismount. He lifted the right forefoot, 
the one the horse had favored, and found a stone imbedded 
tightly in the cloven hoof. He pried it out with his knife 
and mounted again. Wolf shone faintly far ahead, and 
presently he uttered a mournful cry which sent a chill to the 
rider's heart. The silence had been oppressive before; now 
it was terrible. It was not a silence of life. It had been 
broken suddenly by WolFs howl, and had closed sharply 
after it, without echo; it was a silence of death. 

Hare took care not to fall behind Wolf again, he had no 
wish to hear that ciy repeated. The dog moved onward 
with silent feet; the horse wound after him with hoofs 
padded in the sand; the moon lifted and the desert gleamed; 
the bowlders grew larger and the lanes wider. So the night 
wore on, and Hare's eyelids grew heavy, and his whole 
weary body cried out for rest and forgetfulness. He nodded 
until he swayed in the saddle; then righted himself, only 
to doze again. The east gave birth to the morning star. 
The whitening sky was the harbinger of day. Hare could 
not bring himself to face the light and heat, and he stopped 
at a wind-worn cave under a shelving rock. He was asleep 
when he rolled out on the sand-strewn floor. Once he awoke 
and it was still day, for his eyes quickly shut upon the glare. 
He lay sweltering till once more slumber claimed him. 

208 



DESERT NIGHT 

The dog awakened him, with cold nose and low whine. 
Another twilight had fallen. Hare crawled out, stiff and 
sore, hungry and parching with thirst. He made an attempt 
to eat, but it was a failure. There was a dry burning in his 
throat, a dizzy feeling in his brain, and there were red 
flashes before his eyes. Wolf refused meat, and Silver- 
mane turned from the grain, and lowered his head to 
munch a few blades of desert grass. 

Then the journey began, and the night fell black. A 
cool wind blew from the west, the white stars blinked, the 
weird moon rose with its ghastly glow. Huge bowlders 
rose before him in grotesque shapes, tombs and pillars 
and statues of Nature's dead, carved by wind and sand. 
But some had life in Hare's disordered fancy. They 
loomed and towered over him, and stalked abroad and 
peered at him with deep-set eyes. 

Hare fought with all his force against this mood of gloom. 
Wolf was not a phantom; he trotted forward with unerring 
instinct; and he would find water, and that meant life. 
Silvermane, desert-steeled, would travel to the furthermost 
corner of this hell of sand-swept stone. Hare tried to collect 
all his spirit, all his energies, but the battle seemed to be 
going against him. All about him was silence, breathless 
silence, insupportable silence of a^:s. Desert spectres 
danced in the darkness. The worn-out moon gleamed 
golden over the worn-out waste. Desolation lurked under 
the sable shadows. 

Hare rode on into the night, tumbled from his saddle in 
the gray of dawn to sleep, and stumbled in the twilight to his 
drooping horse. His eyes were blind now to the desert 
shapes, his brain burned and his tongue filled his mouth 

209 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Silvermane trod ever upon Wolf's heels; he had come into 
the kingdom of his desert-strength; he lifted his drooping 
head and lengthened his stride; weariness had gone and he 
snorted his welcome to something on the wind. Then he 
passed the limping dog and led the way. 

Hare held to the pommel and bent dizzily forward in the 
saddle. Silvermane was going down, step by step, with 
metallic clicks upon flinty rock. Whether he went down 
or up was all the same to Hare; he held on with closed eyes 
and whispered to himself. Down and down, step by step, 
cracking the stones with iron-shod hoofs, the gray stallion 
worked his perilous way, sure-footed as a mountain-sheep. 
. Then he stopped with a great slow heave and bent his 
head. 

The black bulge of a canon rim blurred in Hare's hot 
eyes. A trickling sound penetrated his tired brain. His 
ears had grown like his eyes — false. Only another delusion ! 
As he had been tortured with the sight of lake and stream 
now he was to be tortured with the sound of running water. 
Yet he listened, for it was sweet even in its mockery. What 
a clear musical tinkle, like silver bells tossing on the wind! 
He listened. Soft murmuring flow, babble and gurgle, 
little hollow fall and splash! 

Suddenly Silvermane, lifting his head, broke the silence 
of the caiion with a great sigh of content. It pierced the 
dull fantasy of Hare's mind; it burst the gloomy spell. The 
sigh and the snort which followed were Silvermane's trium- 
phant signals when he had drunk his fill. 

Hare fell from the saddle. The gray dog lay stretched 
low in the darkness. Hare crawled beside him and 
reached out with his hot hands. Smooth cool marble rock, 

210 



DESERT NIGHT 

growing slippery, then wet, led into running water. He 
slid forward on his face and wonderful cold thrills quivered 
over his burning skin. He drank and drank until he could 
drink no more. Then he lay back upon the rock; the mad- 
ness of his brain went out with the light of the stars, and he 
slept. 

When he awoke red canon walls leaned far above him 
to a gap spanned by blue sky. A song of rushing water 
murmured near his ears. He looked down; a spring gushed 
from a crack in the wall; Silvermane cropped green bushes, 
and Wolf sat on his haunches waiting, but no longer with 
sad eyes and strange mien. Hare raised himself, looking 
again and again, and slowly gathered his wits. The crim- 
son blur had gone from his eyes and the burning from his 
skin, and the painful swelling from his tongue. 

He drank long and deeply, and rising with clearing 
thoughts and thankful heart, he kissed WolPs white head, 
and laid his arms round Silvermane's neck. He fed them, 
and ate himself, not without difficulty, for his Jips were 
puSed and his tongue felt like a piece of rope. When he 
had eaten, his strength came back. 

At a word Wolf, with a wag of his tail, splashed into the 
gravelly stream bed. Hare followed on foot, leading Silver- 
mane. There were little beds of pebbles and beaches of 
Isand and short steps down which the water babbled. 
The canon was narrow and tortuous; Hare could not see 
ahead or below, for the projecting red cliffs, growing 
higher as he descended, walied out the view. The blue 
stream of sky above grew bluer and the light and shade less 
bright. For an hour he went down steadily without a 
check, and the farther down the rougher grew the way, 

211 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Bowlders wedged in narrow places made foaming water- 
falls. Silvermane clicked down confidently. 

The slender stream of water, swelled by seeping springs 
and little rills, gained the dignity of a brook; it began to 
dash merrily and hurriedly downward. The depth of the 
falls, the height of cliffs, and the size of the bowlders increased 
in the descent. Wolf splashed on unmindful; there was a 
new spirit in his movements; and when he looked back for 
his laboring companions there was friendly protest in his 
eyes. Silvermane 's mien plainly showed that where a dog 
could go he could follow. Silvermane's blood was heated; 
the desert was an old story to him; it had only tired him 
and parched his throat; this canon of downwards steps 
and falls, with ever-deepening drops, was new to him, and 
roused his mettle; and from his long training in the wilds 
he had gained a marvellous sure-footedness. 

The caiion narrowed as it deepened; the jutting walls 
leaned together, shutting out the light; the sky above was 
now a ribbon of blue, only to be seen when Hare threw back 
his head and stared straight up. 

"It'll be easier climbing up, Silvermane," he panted — 
"if we ever get the chance." 

The sand and gravel and shale had disappeared; all was 
bare clean-washed rock. In many places the brook failed 
as a trail, for it leaped down in white sheets over mossy 
cliffs. Hare faced these walls in despair. But Wolf led 
on over the ledges and Silvermane followed, nothing 
daunted. At last Hare shrank back from a hole which 
defied him utterly. Even Wolf hesitated. The canon was 
barely twenty feet wide; the floor ended in a precipice; the 
stream leaped out and fell into a dark cleft from which no 

212 



DESERT NIGHT 

sound arose. On the right there was a shelf of rock; it 
was scarce half < a foot broad at the narrowest and then 
apparently vanished altogether. Hare stared helplessly 
up at the slanting shut-in walls. 

While he hesitated Wolf pattered out upon the ledge and 
Silvermane stamped restlessly. With a desperate fear of 
losing his beloved horse Hare let go the bridle and stepped 
upon the ledge. He walked rapidly, for a slow step meant 
uncertainty and a false one meant death. He heard the 
sharp ring of Silvermane's shoes, and he listened in agonized 
suspense for the slip, the snort, the crash that he feared must 
come. But it did not come. Seeing nothing except the 
narrow ledge, yet feeling the blue abyss beneath him, he bent 
all his mind to his task, and finally walked out into lighter 
space upon level rock. To his infinite relief Silvermane 
appeared rounding a corner out of the dark passage, and 
was soon beside him. 

Hare cried aloud in welcome. 

The canon widened;- there was a clear demarcation 
where the red walls gave place to yellow; the brook showed 
no outlet from its subterranean channel.. Sheer exhaustion 
made Hare almost forget his mission; the strength of his 
resolve had gone into mechanical toil; he kept on, conscious 
only of the smart of bruised hands and feet and the ache 
of laboring lungs. 

Time went on and the sun hung in the midst of the 
broadening belt of blue sky. A long slant of yellow slope 
led down to a sage-covered level, which Hare crossed, 
pleased to see blooming cacti and wondering at their slender 
lofty green stems shining with gold flowers. He descended 
into a ravine which became precipitous. Here he made 

213 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

only slow advance. At the bottom he found himself in a 
wonderful lane with an almost level floor; here flowed a 
shallow stream bordered by green willows. Wolf took the 
direction of the flowing water. Hare's thoughts were all 
of Mescal, and his hopes began to mount, his heart to beat 
high. 

He gazed ahead with straining eyes. Presently there was 
not a break in the walls. A drowsy hum of falling water 
came to Hare, strange reminder of the oasis, the dull roar 
of the Colorado, and of Mescal. 

His flagging energies leaped into life with the canon sud- 
denly opening to bright light and blue sky and beautiful 
valley, white and gold in blossom, green with grass and 
Cottonwood. On a flower-scented wind rushed that mufiled 
roar again, like distant thunder. 

Wolf dashed into the cottonwoods. Silvermane whistled 
with satisfaction and reached for the long grass. 

For Hare the light held something more than beauty, 
the breeze something more than sweet scent of water and 
blossom. Both were charged with meaning — with suspense. 

Wolf appeared in the open leaping upon a slender brown- 
garbed form. 

"Mescal!" cried Hare. 

With a cry she ran to him, her arms outstretched, her 
hair flying in the wind, her dark eyes wild with joy 



XVI 

THUNDER RIVER 

FOR an instant Hare's brain reeled, and Mescal's 
broken murmurings were meaningless Then his 
faculties grew steady and acute; he held the girl as if 
he intended never to let her go. Mescal clung to him with 
a wildness that gave him anxiety for her reason; there was 
something almost fierce in the tension of her arms, in the 
blind groping for his face. 

"Mescal! It's Jack, safe and well," he said. "Let me 
look at you." 

At the sound of his voice all her rigid strength changed 
to a yielding weakness; she leaned back supported by his 
arms and looked at him. lr[aie trembled before the dusky 
level glance he remembered so well, and as tears began to 
flow he drew her/head to his shoulder. He had forgotten to 
prepare himself for a different Mescal. Despite the quiver- 
ing smile of happiness, her eyes were strained with pain. 
The oval contour, the rich bloom of her face had gone; 
beauty was there still, but it was the ghost of the old 
beauty. 

"Jack — is it — really you?" she asked. 

He answered with a kiss. 

She slippc:d out of his arms breathless and scarlet. "Tell 
me all-" 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"There's much to' tell, but not before you kiss me. It 
has been more than a year." 

"Only a year! Have I been gone only a year ?" 

"Yes, a year. But it's past now. Kiss me, Mescal. 
One kiss will pay for that long year, though it broke my 
heart." 

Shyly she raised her hands to his shoulders and put her 
lips to his. "Yes, you've found me. Jack, thank God! 
just in time!" 

"Mescal! What's wrong? Aren't you well?" 

" Pretty well. But if you had not come soon I should 
have starved." 

"Starved? Let me get my saddle-bags — I have bread 
and meat." 

"Wait. I'm not so hungry now. I mean very soon I 
should not have had any food at all." 

" But your peon — the dumb Indian ? Surely he could 
find something to eat. What of him ? Where is he ?" 

"My peon is dead. He has been dead for months, I 
don't know how many." 

" Dead ! What was the matter with him ?" 

"I never knew. I found him dead one morning and I 
buried him in the sand." 

Mescal led Hare under the cottonwoods and pointed to 
the Indian's grave, now green with grass. Farther on in a 
circle c^ trees stood a little hogan skilfully constructed out 
of brush; the edge of a red blanket peeped from the door; 
a burnt-out fire smoked on a stone fireplace, and blackened 
earthen vessels lay near. The white seeds of the cotton- 
woods were flying light as feathers; plum-trees were pink 
in blossom; there were vines twining all about; through th^ 

5516 



THUNDER RIVER 

openings in the foliage shone the blue of sky and red of 
cliff Patches of blossoming flowers were here and there 
lit to brilliance by golden shafts of sunlight. The twitter 
of birds and hum of befes were almost drowned in the soft 
roar of water. 

"Is that the Colorado I hear ?" asked Hare. 

"No, that's Thunder River. The Colorado is farther 
down in the Grand Canon." 

"Farther down! Mescal, I must have come a mile from 
the rim. Where are we ? " 

"We are almost at the Colorado, and directly under the 
head of Cocohina. We can see the mountain from the 
break in the valley below." 

"Come sit by me here under this tree. Tell me — how 
did you ever get here ?" 

Then Mescal told him how the peon had led her on a long 
trail from Bitter Seeps, how they had camped at desert 
waterholes, and on the fourth day descended to Thunder 
River. 

"I was quite happy at first. It's always summer down 
here. There were rabbits, birds, beavei", and fruit — we had 
enough to eat I explored the valley with Wolf or rode 
Noddle up and down the canon. Then my peon died, and I 
had to shift for myself. There came a time when the beaver 
left the valley, and Wolf and I had to make a rabbit serve 
fdr days. I knew then I'd have to get across the desert to 
the Navajos or starve in the canon. I hesitated about 
cliinbing out into the desert, for I wasn't sure of the trail 
to the waterholes. Noddle wandered off up the canon and 
never came back. After he was gone and I knew I couldn't 
get Out I grew homesick. The days weren't so bad because 

217 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

I was always hunting for something to eat, but the nights 
were lonely. I couldn't sleep. I lay awake listening to 
the river, and at last I could hear whispering and singing 
and music, and strange sounds, and low thunder, always 
low thunder. I wasn't really frightened, only lonely, 
and the caiion was so black and full of mutterings. 
Sometimes I'd dream I was back on the plateau with you, 
Jack, and Bolly and the sheep, and when I'd awake in the 
loneliness I'd cry right out — " 

"Mescal, I heard those cries," said Hare. 

"It was strange — ^the way I felt. I believe if I'd never 
known and — and loved you. Jack, I'd have forgotten home. 
After I'd been here a while, I seemed to be drifting, drifting. 
It was as if I had lived in the canon long before, and was 
remembering. The feeling was strong, but always thoughts 
of you, and of the big world, brought me back to the present 
"with its loneliness and fear of starvation. Then I wanted 
you, and I'd cry out. I knew I must send Wolf home. 
How hard it was to make him g6! But at last he trotted off, 
looking backward, and I — ^waited and waited." 

She leaned against him. The hand which had plucked 
at his sleeve dropped to his fingers and clung there. Hare 
knew how her story had slighted the perils and privations of 
that long year. She had grown lonely in the caiion dark- 
ness; she had sent Wolf away and had waited — all was 
said in that. But more than any speech, the look of her, 
and the story told in the thin brown hands touched his heart. 
Not for an instant since his arrival had she altogether let 
loose of his fingers, or coat, or arm. She had lived so long 
alone in this weird world of silence and moving shadows 
and murmuring water, that she needed to feel the substance 

2i8 



THUNDER RIVER 

of her hopes, to assure herself of the reality of the man she 
loved. 

"My mustang — Bolly — tell me of her," said Mescal. 

"BoUy'sfine. Sleek and fat and lazy! She's been in the 
fields ever since you left. Not a bridle on her. Many times 
have I seen her poke her black muzzle over the fence and 
look down the lane. She'd never forget you, Mescal." 

"Oh! how I want to see her! Tell me — everything." 

"Wait a little. Let me fetch Silvermane and we'll make 
a fire and eat. Then — " 

"Tell me now." 

"Well, Mescal, it's soon told." Then came the story 
of events growing out of her flight. When he told of the 
shooting at Silver Cup, Mescal rose with heaving bosom 
and blazing eyes. 

"It was nothing — I wasn't hurt rhuch. Only the in- 
tention was bad. We saw no more of Snap or Holdemess. 
The worst of it all was that Snap's wife died." 

"Oh, I am sorty — sorry. Poor Father Naab! How he 
must hate me, the cause of it all! But I couldn't stay — I 
couldn't marty Snap." 

"Don't blame yourself, Mescal. What Snap might have 
done if you had married him is guesswork. He might have 
left drink alone a while longer. But he was bad clean 
through. I heard Dave Naab tell him that. Snap would 
have gone over to Holdemess sooner or later. And now he's 
a rustler, if not worse." 

"Then those men think Snap killed you ?" 

"Yes." 

"What's going to happen when you meet Snap, or any 
of them?" 

15 219 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

fl 

"Somebody will be surprised," replied Hare, with a 
laugh. 

"Jack, it's no laughing matter." She fastened her 
hands in the lapels of his coat and her eyes grew sad. 
"You can never hang up your gun again." 

"No. But perhaps I can keep out of their way, espe- 
cially Snap's. Mescal, you've forgotten Silvermane, and 
how he can run." 

"I haven't forgotten. He can run, but he can't beat 
Bolly." She said this with a hint of her old spirit. "Jack — 
you want to take me back home ?" 

"Of course. What did you expect when you sent Wolf?" 

"T didn't expect. I just wanted to see you, or somebody, 
and I thought of the Navajos. Couldn't I live with them .? 
Why can't we stay here or in a canon across the Colorado 
where there's plenty of game ?" 

"I'm going to take you home and Father Naab shall 
marry you — to — to me." 

Startled, Mescal fell back upon his shoulder and did not 
stir nor speak for a long time. "Did — did you tell him ?" 

"Yes." 

"What did he say ? Was he angry ? Tell me." 

"He was kind and good as he always is. He said if I 
found you, then the issue would be between Snap and me, 
as man to man. You are still pledged to Snap in the 
Mormon Church and that can't be changed. I don't 
suppose even if he's outlawed that it could be changed." 

"Snap will not let any grass grow in the trails to the 
oasis," said Mescal. "Once he finds I've come back to life 
he'll have me. You don't know him, Jack. I'm afraid t(? 
go home." 

220 



THUNDER RIVER 

"My "dear, there's no other place for us to go. We can't 
live the life of Indians." 

"But Jack, think of me watching you ride out from home! 
Think of me always looking for Snap! I couldn't endure it. 
I've grown weak in this year of absence." 

"Mescal, look at me." His voice rang as he held her 
face to face. "We must decide evet3rthing. Now — say 
you love me!'' 

"Yes— yes." 

"Say it." 

"I — love you — Jack." 

"Say you'll marry me!" 

"I will marry you." 

"Then listen. I'll get you out of this caiion and take 
you home. You are mine and I'll keep you." He held her 
tightly with strong arms; his face paled, his eyes darkened. 
" I don't want to meet Snap Naab. I shall try to keep out 
of his way. I hope I can. But Mescal, I'm yours now. 
Your happiness — perhaps your life — depend? on me. That 
makes a difference. Understand!" 

Silvermane walked into the glade with a saddle-girth so 
tight that his master unbuckled it only by dint of repeated 
effort. Evidently the rich grass of Thunder River Canon 
appealed strongly to the desert stallion. 

"Here, Silver, how do you expect to carry us out if you 
eat and drink like that?" Hare removed the saddle and 
tethered the gray to one of the cottonwoods. Wolf came 
trotting into camp proudly carrying a rabbit. 

"Mescal, can we get across the Colorado and find a way 
up over Coconina ?" asked Hare. 

"Yes, I'm sure we can. My peon never made a mistake 

221 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

about directions. There's no trail, but Navajos have 
crossed the river at this season, and worked up a canon." 

The shadows had gathered under the cliffs, and the rosy 
light high up on the ramparts had chilled and waned when 
'Hare and Mescal sat down to their meal. Wolf lay close 
to the girl and begged for morsels. Then in the twilight 
they sat together content to be silent, listening to the low 
thunder of the river. Long after Mescal had retired into 
her hogan Hare lay awake before her door with his head 
in his saddle and listened to the low roll, the dull burr, 
the dreamy hum of the tumbling waters. The place was like 
the oasis, only infinitely more hidden under the cliffs. A few 
stars twinkled out of the dark blue, and one hung, beacon- 
like, on the crest of a noble crag. There were times when he 
imagined the valley was as silent as the desert night, and 
other times when he imagined he heard the thundering roll 
of avalanches and the tramp of armies. Then the voices 
of Mescal's solitude spoke to him — ^glorious laughter and 
low sad wails of woe, sweet songs and whispers and mur- 
murs. His last waking thoughts were of the haunting sound 
of Thunder River, and that he had come to bear Mescal 
away from its loneliness. 

He bestirred himself at the first glimpse of day, and 
when the gray mists had lifted to wreathe the crags it was 
light enough to begin the journey. Mescal shed tears at 
the grave of the faithful peon. "He loved this canon," 
she said, softly. Hare lifted her upon Silvermane. He 
walked beside the horse and Wolf trotted on before. They 
travelled awhile under the flowering cottonwoods on a trail 
bordered with green tufts of grass and great star-shaped 
lilies. The river was still hidden, but it filled the grove with 

2?2 



THUNDER RIVER 

its soft thunder. Gradually the trees thinned out, hard 
stony ground encroached upon the sand, bowlders appeared 
in the way; and presently, when Silvermane stepped out 
of the shade of the cottonwoods. Hare saw the lower end of 
the valley with its ragged vent. 

"Look back!" said Mescal. 

Hare saw the river bursting from the base of the wall 
in two white streams which soon united below, and 
leaped down in a continuous cascade. Step by step the 
stream plunged through the deep gorge, a broken, foaming 
raceway, and at the lower end of the valley it took its 
final leap into a blue abyss, and then found its way to the 
Colorado, hidden underground. 

The flower-scented breeze and the rumbling of the river 
persisted long after the valley lay behind and above, but 
these failed at length in the close air of the huge abutting 
walls. The light grew thick, the stones cracked like d^ep 
bell-strokes; the voices of man and girl had a hollow sound 
and echo. Silver nane clattered down the easy trail at a gait 
which urged Hare now and then from walk to run. Soon 
the gully opened out upon a plateau through the centre of 
which, in a black gulf, wound the red Colorado, sullen- 
voiced, booming, never silent nor restful. Here were dis- 
tances by which Hare could begin to comprehend the 
immensity of the caiion, and he felt lost among the great 
terraces leading up to mesas that dwarfed the Echo Clifl^s. | 
All was bare rock of many hues burning under the sun. 

"Jack, this is mescal," said the girl, pointing to some 
towering plants. 

All over the sunny slopes cacti lifted slender shafts, un- 
folding in spiral leaves as they shot upward and bursting 

223 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

at the top into plumes of yellow flowers. The blossoming 
stalks waved in the wind, and black bees circled round 
them. 

"Mescal, I've always wanted to see the Flower of the 
Desert from which you're named. It's beautiful." 

Hare broke a dead stalk of the cactus and was put to 
instant flight by a stream of bees pouring with angry buzz 
from the hollow centre. Two big fellows were so per- 
sistent that he had to beat them off with his hat. 

"You shouldn't despoil their homes," said Mescal, with a 
peal of laughter. 

"I'll break another stalk and get stung, if you'll laugh 
again," replied Hare. 

They traversed the remaining slope of the plateau, and 
entering the head of a ravine, descended a steep cleft of 
flinty rock, rock so hard that Silvermane's iron hoofs not 
so much as scratched it. Then reaching a level, they passed 
out to rounded sand and the river. 

"It's a little high," said Hare dubiously. "Mescal, I 
don't like the looks of those rapids." 

Only a few hundred rods of the river could be seen. In 
front of Hare the current was swift but not broken. Above, 
where the caiion turned, the river sheered out with a 
mijestic roll and falling in a wide smooth curve suddenly 
narrowed into a leaping crest of reddish waves. Below 
Hare was a smaller rapid where the broken water turned 
toward the nearer side of the river, but with an accompani- 
ment of twisting swirls and vicious waves. 

"I guess we'd better risk it," said Hare, grimly recalling 
the hot rock, the sand, and lava of the desert. 

"It's safe, if Silvermane is a good swimmer," replied 
224 



THUNDER RIVER 

Mescal. "We can take the river above and cut across so 
the current will help." 

"Silvermane loves the water. He'll make this crossing 
easily. But he can't carry us both, and it's impossible to 
make two trips. I'll have to swim." 

Without wasting more words and time over a task which 
would only grow more formidable with every look and 
thought, Hare led Silvermane up the sand-bar to its limit. 
He removed his coat and strapped it behind the saddle; 
his belt and revolver and boots he hung over the pommel. 

"How about Wolf? I'd forgotten him." 

"Never fear for him! He'll stick close to me." 

"Now, Mescal, there's the point we want to make, that 
bar; see it?'' 

"Surely we can land above that." 

"I'll be satisfied if we get even there. You guide him 
for it. And, Mescal, here's my gun. Try to keep it from 
getting wet. Balance it on the pommel — so. Come, Silver; 
come, Wolf." 

"Keep up-stream," called Mescal as Hare plunged in. 
"Don't drift below us." 

In two steps Silvermane went in to his saddle, and he 
rolled with a splash and a snort, sinking Mescal to her hips. 
His nose level with the water, mane and tail floating, he 
swam powerfully with the current. 

For Hare the water was just cold enough to be delightful 
after the long hot descent, but its quality was strange. 
Keeping up-stream of the horse and even with Mescal, he 
swam with long regular strokes for perhaps one-quarter of 
the distance. But when they reached the swirling eddies 
he found that he was tiring. The water was thick and 

225 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

heavy; it compressed his lungs and dragged at his feet. 
He whirled round and round in the eddies and saw Silver- 
mane doing the same. Only by main force could he breast 
his way out of these whirlpools. When a wave slapped his 
face he tasted sand, and then he knew what the strange 
feeling meant. There was sand here as on the desert. 
Even in the depths of the canon he could not escape it. 
As the current grew rougher he began to feel that he could 
scarcely spread his arms in the wide stroke. Changing the 
stroke he discovered that he could not keep up with Silver- 
mane, and he changed back again. Gradually his feet 
sank lower and lower, the water pressed tighter round him, 
his arms seemed to grow useless. Then he remembered a 
saying of August Naab that the Navajos did not attempt 
to swim the river when it was in flood and full of sand. He 
ceased to struggle, ahd drifting with the current, soon was 
close to Silvermane, and grasped a saddle strap. 

"Not there!" called Mescal. "He might strike you. 
Hang to his tail!" 

Hare dropped behind, and catching Silvermane's tail held 
on firmly. The stallion towed him easily. The waves 
dashed over him and lapped at Mescal's waist. The current 
grew stronger, sweeping Silvermane down out of line with , 
the black wall which had frowned closer and closer. Mescal 
lifted the rifle, and resting the stock on the saddle, held it 
upright. The roar of the rapids seemed to lose its volume, 
and presently it died in the splashing and slapping of 
broken water closer at hand. Mescal turned to him with 
bright eyes; curving her hand about her lips she shouted: 

"Can't make the bar! We've got to go through this side 
of the rapids. Hang on!" 

226 



THUNDER RIVER 

In the swelling din Hare felt the resistless pull 
of the current. As he held on with both hands, hard 
pressed to keep his grasp, Silvermane dipped over a low 
fall in the river. Then Hare was riding the rushing water 
of an incline. It ended below in a red-crested wave, and 
beyond was a chaos of curling breakers. Hare had one 
glimpse of Mescal crouching low, shoulders narrowed and 
head bent; then, with one white flash of the stallion's mane 
against her flying black hair, she went out of sight in leaping 
waves and spray. Hare was thrown forward into the back- 
lash of the wave. The shock blinded him, stunned him, 
almost tore his arms from his body, but his hands were 
so twisted in Silvermane's tail that even this could 
not loosen them. The current threw him from wave to 
wave. He was dragged through a caldron, blind from 
stinging blows, deaf from the tremendous roar. Then the 
fierce contention of waves lessened, the threshing of cross- 
currents straightened, and he could breathe once more. 
Silvermane dragged him steadily; and, finally, his feet 
touched the ground. He could scarcely see, so full were his 
eyes of the sandy water, but he made out Mescal rising 
from the river on Silvermane, as with loud snorts he 
climbed to a bar. Hare staggered up and fell on the 
sand. 

"Jack, are you all right ?" inquired Mescal. 

"All right, only pounded out of breath, and my eyes are 
full of sand. How about you ?" 

"I don't think I ever was any wetter," replied Mescal, 
laughing. " It was hard to stick on holding the rifle. That 
first wave almost unseated me. I was afraid we might strike 
the rocks, but the water was deep. Silvermane is grand, 

227 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Jack. Wolf swam out above the rapids and was waiting 
for us when we landed." 

Hare wiped the sand out of his eyes and rose to his feet, 
finding himself little the worse for the adventure. Mescal 
was wringing the water from the long straight braids of her 
hair. She was smiling, and a tint of color showed in her 
cheeks. The wet buckskin blouse and short skirt clung 
tightly to her slender form. She made so pretty a picture 
and appeared so little affected by the peril they had just 
passed through that Hare, yielding to a tender rush of pride 
and possession, kissed the pink cheeks till they flamed. 

"All wet," said he, "you and I, clothes, food, guns — 
everything." 

"It's hot and we'll soon dry," returned Mescal. "Here's 
the canon and creek we must follow up to Coconina. My 
peon mapped them in the sand for me one day. It '11 prob- 
ably be a long climb," 

Hare poured the water out of his boots, pulled them on, 
and helping Mescal to mount Silvermane, he took the bridle 
over his arm and led the way into a black-mouthed canon, 
through which flowed a stream of clear water. Wolf 
splashed and pattered along beside him. Beyond the 
marble rock this canon opened out to great breadth and 
wonderful walls. Hare had eyes only for the gravelly bars 
and shallow levels of the creek; intent on finding the easy 
going for his horse he strode on and on thoughtless of time. 
Nor did he talk to Mescal, for the work was hard, and he 
needed his breath. Splashing the water, hammering the 
stones, Silvermane ever kept his nose at Hare's elbow. 
They climbed little ridges, making short cuts from point to 
point, they threaded miles of narrow winding creek floor, 

228 



THUNDER RIVER 

and passed under ferny cliflFs and over grassy banks and 
through thickets of yellow willow. As they wound along 
the course of the creek, always up and up, the great walls 
imperceptibly lowered their rims. The warm sun soared 
to the zenith. Jumble of bowlders, stretches of white gravel, 
ridges of sage, blocks of granite, thickets of manzanita, 
long yellow slopes, crumbling crags, clumps of cedar and 
lines of pifion — all were passed in the persistent plodding 
climb. The caiion grew narrower toward its source; the 
creek lost its volume; patches of snow gleamed in sheltered 
places. At last the yellow-streaked walls edged out upon 
a grassy hollow and the great dark pines of Coconina 
shadowed the snow. 

"We're up," panted Hare. "What a climb! Five 
hours! One more day — then home!" 

Silvermane's ears shot up and Wolf barked. Two gray 
deer loped out of a thicket and turned inquisitively, Reach- 
ing for his rifle Hare threw back the lever, but the action 
clogged, it rasped with the sound of crunching sand, and the 
cartridge could not be pressed into the chamber or ejected. 
He fumbled about the breach of the gun and his brow 
clouded. 

"Sand! Out ofcommission!" he exclaimed. "Mescal,.! 
don't like that." 

"Use your Colt," suggested Mescal. 

The distance was too great. Hare missed, and the deer 
bounded away into the forest. 

Hare built a fire under a sheltering pine where no snow 
covered the soft mat of needles, and while Mescal dried the 
blankets and roasted the last portion of meat he made a 
wind-break of spruce boughs. When they had eaten, not 

229 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

forgetting to give Wolf a portion, Hare fed Silvermane the 
last few handfuls of grain, and tied him with a long halter 
on the grassy bank. The daylight failed and darkness 
came on apace. The old familiar roar of the wind in the 
pines was disturbing; it might mean only the lull and crash 
of the breaking night-gusts, and it might mean the north 
wind, storm, and snow. It whooped down the hollow, 
scattering the few scrub-oak leaves; it whirled the red 
embers of the fire away into the dark to sputter in the snow, 
and blew the burning logs into a white glow. Mescal slept 
in the shelter of the spruce boughs with Wolf snug and 
warm beside her. Hare stretched his tired limbs in the heat 
of the blaze. 

When he awakened the fire was low and he was numb with 
cold. He took care to put on logs enough to last until 
morning; then he lay down once more, but did not sleep. 
The dawn came with a gray shade in the forest; it 
was a cloud, and it rolled over him soft, tangible, moist, 
and cool, and passed away under the pines. With its 
vanishing the dawn lightened. "Mescal, if we're on the 
spur of Goconina, it's only ten miles or so to Silver Cup," 
said Hare, as he saddled Silvermane. "Mount now and 
we'll go up out of the hollow and get our bearings." 

While ascending the last step to the rim Hare revolved 
in his mind the probabilities of marking a straight course 
to Silver Cup. 

"Oh! Jack!" exclaimed Mescal, suddenly. "Vermillion 
Cliffs and homef' 

"I've travelled in a circle!" replied Hare. 

Mescal was enraptured at the scene. Vermillion Cliffs 
shone red as a rose. The split in the wall marking the oasis 

230 



THUNDER RIVER 

defined its outlines sharply against the sky. Miles of the 
Colorado River lay in sight. Hare knew he stood on the 
highest point of Coconina overhanging the Grand Canon 
and the Painted Desert, thousands of feet below. He noted 
the wondrous abyss sleeping in blue mist at his feet, while 
he gazed across to the desert awakening in the first red rays 
of the rising sun. 

"Mescal, your Thunder River Canon is only^one little 
crack in the rocks. It is lost in this chasm," said 
Hare. 

"It's lost, surely. I can t even see the tip of the peak 
that stood so high over the valley." 

Once more turning to the left Hare ran his eye over the 
Vermillion Cliffs, and the strip of red sand shining under 
them, and so calculating his bearings he headed due north 
for Silver Cup. What with the snow and the soggy ground 
the first mile was hard going for Hare, and Silvermane often 
sank deep. Once off the level spur of the mountain they 
made better time, for the snow thinned out on the slope and 
gradually gave way to the brown dry aisles of the forest. 
Hare mounted in front of Mescal, and put the stallion to an 
easy trot; after two hours of riding they struck a bridle- 
trail which Hare recognized as one leading down to the 
spring. In another hour they reached the steep slope of 
Coconina, and saw the familiar red wall across the valley, 
and caught glimpses of gray sage patches down through 
the pines. 

"I smell smoke," said Hare. 

"The boys must be at the spring," rejoined Mescal. 

"Maybe. I want to be sure who's there. We'll leave 
the trail and slip down through the woods to the left. I 

231 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

wish we could get down on the home side of the spring. 
But we can't; we've got to pass it." 

With many a pause to peer through openings in the pines 
Hare traversed a diagonal course down the slope, crossed 
the line of cedars, and reached the edge of the valley a mile 
or more above Silver Cup. Then he turned toward it, 
still cautiously leading Silvermane under cover of the fringe 
of cedars. 

"Mescal, there are too many cattle in the valley," he said, 
looking at her significantly. 

"They can't all be ours, that's sure," she replied. " What 
do you think ?" 

"Holderness!" With the word Hare's face grew set and 
stern. He kept on, cautiously leading the horse under the 
cedars, careful to avoid breaking brush or rattling stones, 
occasionally whispering to Wolf; and so worked his way 
along the curve of the woody slope till further prog- 
ress was checked by the bulging wall of rock. 

"Only cattle in the valley, no horses," he said. "I've a 
good chance to cut across this curve and reach the trail. 
If I take time to climb up and see who's at the spring maybe 
the chance will be gone. I don't believe Dave and the 
boys are there." 

He pondered a moment, then climbed up in front of 
Mescal, and directed the gray out upon the valley. Soon 
he was among the grazing cattle. . He felt no surprise to see 
the H brand on their flanks. 

"Jack, look at that brand," said Mescal, pointing to a 
white-flanked steer. "There's an old brand like a cross, 
Father Naab's cross, and a new brand, a single bar. To- 
gether they make an H!" 

232 



THUNDER RIVER 

"Mescal! You've hit it. I remember that steer. He 
was a very devil to brand. He's the property of August 
Naab, and Holderness has added the bar, making a clumsy 
H. What a rustler's trick! It wouldn't deceive a child." 

They had reached the cedars and the trail when Wolf 
began to sniff suspiciously at the wind. 

"Look!" whispered Mescal, calling Hare's attention 
from the dc^. "Look! A new corral!" 

Bending back to get in line with her pointing finger Hare 
looked through a network of cedar boughs to see a fence 
of stripped pines. Farther up were piles of unstripped logs, 
and close by the spring there was a new cabin with smoke 
curling from a stone chimney. Hare guided Silvermane 
oflF the trail to softer ground and went on. He climbed 
the slope, passed the old pool, now a mud-puddle, and 
crossed the dry wash to be brought suddenly to a halt. 
Wolf had made an uneasy stand with his nose pointing to the 
left, and Silvermane pricked up his ears. Presently Hare 
heard the stamping of hoofs off in the cedars, and before he 
had fully determined the direction from which the sound 
came three horses and a man stepped from the shade into a 
sunlit space. 

As luck would have it Hare happened to be well screened 
by a thick cedar; and since there was a possibility that he 
might remain unseen he chose to take it. Silvermane and 
Wolf stood still in their tracks. Hare felt Mescal's hands 
tighten on his coat and he pressed them to reassure her. 
Peeping out from his covert he saw a man in his shirt-sleeves 
leading the horses — a slender, clean-faced, dark-haired man 
— Dene! The blood beat hotly in Hare's temples and he 
gripped the handle of his Colt. It seemed a fatal chance that 

233 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

sent the outlaw to that trail. He was whistling; he had two 
halters in one hand and with the other he led his bay horse 
by the mane. Then Hare saw that he wore no bek; he 
was unarmed; on the horses were only the halters and 
clinking hobbles. Hare dropped his Golt back into its 
holster. 

Dene sauntered on, whistling " Dixie." When he reached 
the trail, instead of crossing it, as Hare had hoped, he 
turned into it and came down. 

Hare swung the switch he had broken from an aspen and 
struck Silvermane a stinging blow on the flanks. The gray 
leaped forward. The crash of brush and rattle of hoofs 
stampeded Dene's horses in a twinkling. But the outlaw 
paled to a ghastly white and seemed rooted to the trail. It 
was not fear of a man or a horse that held Dene fixed; in 
his starting eyes was the terror of the supernatural. 

The shoulder of the charging stallion struck Dene and 
sent him spinning out of the trail. In a backward glance 
Hare saw the outlaw fall, then rise unhurt to shake his fists 
wildly and to run yelling toward the cabin. 



XVII 

THE SWOOP OF THE HAWK 

"TACK! the saddle's slipping!" cried Mescal, clinging 
cJ closer to him. 

"What luck!" Hare muttered through clinched teeth, 
and pulled hard on the bridle. But the mouth of the stal- 
lion was iron; regardless of the sawing bit, he galloped on. 
Hare called steadily: "Whoa there, Silver! Whoa — slow 
now — ^whoa — easy!" and finally halted him. Hare swung 
down, and as he lifted Mescal off, the saddle slipped to the 
ground. 

"Lucky not to get a spill! The girth snapped. It was 
wet, and dried out." Hare hurriedly began to re])air the 
break with buckskin thongs that he found in a saddle-bag. 

"Listen! Hear the yells!" Oh! hurry!" cried Mescal. 

"I've never ridden bareback. Suppose you go ahead 
with Silver, and I'll hide in the cedars till dark, then walk 
home!" 

"No — No. There's time, but hurry." 

"It's got to be strong," muttered Hare, holding the strap 
over his knee and pulling the laced knot with all his strength, 
*' for we'll have to ride some. If it comes loose — Good-bye I" 

Silvermane's broad chest muscles rippled and he stamped 
restlessly. The dog whined and looked back. Mescal 
had the blanket smooth on the gray when Hare threw the 
16 235 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

saddle over him. The yells had ceased, but clattering hoofs 
on the stony trail were a greater menace. While Hare's 
brown hands worked swiftly over buckle and strap Mescal 
climbed to a seat behind the saddle. 

"Get into the saddle," said Hare, leaping astride and 
pressing forward over the pommel. "Slip down — ^there! 
and hold to me. Go! Silver!" 

The rapid pounding of the stallion's hoofs drowned the 
clatter coming up the trail. A backward glance relieved 
Hare, for dust-clouds some few hundred yards in the rear 
showed the position of the pursuing horsemen. He held 
in Silvermane to a steady gallop. The trail was up-hill, 
and steep enough to wind even a desert racer, if put to his 
limit. 

"Look back!" cried Mescal. "Can you see them? Is 
Snap with them ?" 

"I can't see for trees," replied Hare, over his shoulder. 
"There's dust — ^we're far in the lead — never fear, Mescal. 
The lead's all we want." 

Cedars grew thickly all the way up the steeper part of 
the divide, and ended abruptly at a pathway of stone, where 
the ascent became gradual. When Silvermane struck out 
of the grove upon this slope Hare kept turning keen glances 
rearward. The dust cloud rolled to the edge of the cedars, 
and out of it trooped half-a-dozen horsemen who began to 
shoot as soon as they had reached the open. Bullets zipped 
along the red stone, cutting little puffs of red dust, and 
sung through the air. 

"Good God!" cried Hare. "They're firing on usf 
They'd shoot a woman!" 

"Has it taken you so long to learn that ?" 
236 



THE SWOOP OF THE HAWK 

Hare slashed his steed with the switch. But Silvermane 
needed no goad or spur; he had been shot at before, and the 
whistle of one bullet was sufficient to stretch his gallop into a 
run. Then distance between him and his pursuers grew 
wider and wider and soon he was out of range. The yells of 
the rustlers seemed at first to come from baffled rage, 
but Mescal's startled cry showed their meaning. Other 
horsemen appeared ahead and to the right of him, tearing 
down the ridge to the divide. Evidently they had been 
returning from the western curve of Coconina, 

The direction in which Silvermane was stretching was 
the only possible one for Hare. If he swerved off the trail 
to the left it would be upon rough rising ground. Not 
only must he outride this second band to the point 
where the trail went down on the other side of the divide, 
but also he must get beyond it before they came within 
rifle range. 

"Now! Silver! Go! Go!" Fast as the noble stallion 
was speeding he answered to the call. He was in the open 
now, free of stones and brush, with the spang of rifles in the 
air. The wind rushed into Hare's ears, filling them with a 
hollow roar; the ground blurred by in reddish sheets. TJie 
horsemen cut down the half mile to a quarter, lessened 
that, swept closer and closer, till Hare recognized Chance 
and Culver, and Snap Naab on his cream-colored pinto. 
Seeing that they could not head the invincible stallion they 
sheered more to the right. But Silvermane thundered on, 
crossing the line ahead of them at full three hundred 
yards, and went over the divide, drawing them in behind 
him. 

Then, at the sharp crack of the rifles, leaden messengers 
237 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

whizzed high in the air over horse and riders, and skipped 
along the red shale in front of the running dog. 

"Oh — Silvermane!" cried Hare. It was just a call, as if 
the horse were human, and knew what that pace meant to 
his master. The stem business of the race had ceased to 
rest on Hare. Silvermane was out to the front! He was 
like a level-rushing thunderbolt. Hare felt the instantane- 
ous pause between his long low leaps, the gather of mighty 
muscles, the strain, the tension, then the quivering expulsion 
of force. It was a perilous ride down that red slope, not 
so much from the hissing bullets as from the washes and 
gullies which Silvermane sailed over in magnificent leaps. 
Hare thrilled with savage delight in the wonderful prowess 
of his desert king, in the primal instinct of joy at escaping 
with the woman he loved. 

"Outrun!" he cried, with blazing eyes. Mescal's white 
face was pressed close to his shoulder. "Silver has beaten 
them. They'll hang on till we reach the sand-strip, hoping 
the slow-down will let them come up in time. But they'll 
be far too late." 

The rustlers continued on the trail, firing desultorily, till 
Silvermane so far distanced them that even the necessary 
lapse into a walk in the red sand placed him beyond range 
when they arrived at the strip. 

"They've turned back. Mescal. We're safe. Why, you 
look as you did the day the bear ran for you." 

"I'd rather a bear got me than Snap. Jack, did you see 
him?" 

"See him ? Rather! I'll bet he nearly iilled his pinto. 
Mescal, what do you think of Silvermane now ? Can he 
run ? Can he outrun Bolly ?" 

238 



THE SWOOP OF THE HAWK 

"Yes — yes. Oh! Jack! how I'll love him! Look back 
again. Are we safe ? Will we ever be safe ?" 

It was still daylight when they rounded the portal of 
the oasis and entered the lane with the familiar wall on one 
side, the peeled fence-pickets on the other. Wolf dashed 
on ahead, and presently a chorus of barks announced that 
he had been met by the other dogs. Silvermane neighed 
shrilly, and the horses and mustangs in the corrals trooped 
noisily to the lower sides and hung inquisitive heads over 
the top bars. 

A Navajo whom Hare remembered stared with axe idle 
by the woodpile, then Judith Naab dropped a bundle of 
sticks and with a cry of gladness ran from the house. Be- 
fore Silvermane had come to a full stop Mescal was off. 
She put her arms around his neck and kissed him, then she 
left Judith to dart to the corral where a little black mus- 
tang had begun to whistle and stamp and try to climb over 
the bars. 

August Naab, bareheaded, with shaggy locks shaking at 
every step, strode off the porch and his great hands lifted 
Hare from the saddle. 

" Every day I've watched the river for you," he said. His 
eyes were warm and his g;rasp like a vise. 

"Mescal — child!" he continued, as she came running to 
him. "Safe and well. He's brought you back. Thank 
the Lord!" He took her to his breast and bent his gray 
head over her. 

Then the crowd of big and little Naabs burst from the 
house and came under the cottonwoods to offer noisy 
welcome to Mescal and Hare. 

"Jack, you look done up," said Dave Naab solicitously, 

239 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

when the first greetings had been spokeq, and Mother Ruth 
had led Mescal indoors. "Silvermane, too — ^he's wet and 
winded. He's been running ?" 

"Yes, a little," replied Hare, as he removed the saddle 
from the weary horse. 

"Ah! What's this ?" questioned August Naab, with his 
hand on Silvermane's flank. He touched a raw groove, 
and the stallion flinched. "Hare, a bullet made that!" 

"Yes." 

"Then you didn't lide in by the Navajo crossing ?" 

"No. I came by Silver Cup." 

"Silver Cup ? How on earth did you get down there ?" 

"We climbed out of the canon up over Coconina, and so 
made the spring." 

Naab whistled in surprise and he flashed another keen 
glance over Hare and his horse. "Your story can wait. I 
know about what it is — after you reached Silver Cup. 
Come in, come in, Dave will look out for the stallion." 

But Hare would allow no one else to attend to 
Silvermane. He rubbed the tired gray, gave him a drink 
at the trough, led him to the corral, and took leave of 
him with a caress like Mescal's. Then he went to his 
room and bathed himself and changed his clothes, afterward 
presenting himself at the supper-table to eat like one 
famished. Mescal and he ate alone, as they had been too 
late for the regular hour. The women-folk waited upon 
them as if they could not do enough. There were 
pleasant words and smiles; but in spite of them something 
sombre attended the meal. There was a shadow in each 
face, each step was slow, each voice subdued. Naab and 
his sons were waiting for Hare when he entered the sitt'ing- 



THE SWOOP OF THE HAWK 

room, and after his entrance the door was closed. They 
were all quiet and stern, especially the father. "Tell us 
all," said Naab, simply. 

While Hare was telling his adventures not a word or a 
move interrupted him till he spoke of Silvermane's running 
Dene down. 

"That's the second time!" rolled out Naab. "The 
stallion will kill him yet!" 

Hare finished his story. 

"What don't you owe to that whirlwind of a horse!" ex- 
claimed Dave Naab. No other comment on Hare or Silver- 
mane was offered by the Naabs. 

"You knew Holderness had taken in Silver Cup ?" in- 
quired Hare. 

August Naab nodded gloomily. 

"I guess we knew it," replied Dave for him. "While I 
was in White Sage and the boys were here at home, Holder- 
ness rode to the spring and took possession. I called to see 
him on my way back, but he wasn't around. Snap was 
there, the boss of a bunch of riders. Dene, too, was there." 

"Did you go right into camp ?" asked Hare. 

"Sure. I was looking for Holderness. There were 
eighteen or twenty riders in the bunch. I taiked *c several 
of them. Mormons, good fellows, they used to be. Also I 
had some words with Dene. He said: 'I shore was sorry 
Snap got to my spy first. I wanted him bad, an' I'm shore 
goin' to have his white horse.' Snap and Dene, all of them, 
thought you were number thirty-one in dad's cemetery." 

"Not yet," said Hare. "Dene certainly looked as if he 
saw a ghost when Silvermane jumped for him. Well, he's 
at Silver Cup now. They're all there. What's to be done 

241 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

about it ? They're openly thieves. The new brand on all 
your stock proves that." 

"Such a trick we never heard of," replied August Naab. 
" If we had we might have spared ourselves the labor of 
branding the stock." 

" But that new brand of Holdemess's upon yours proves 
his guilt." 

"It's not now a question of proof. It's one of possession. 
Holderness has stolen my water and my stock." 

"They are worse than rustlers; firing on Mescal and me 
proves that." 

"Why didn't you unlimber the long rifle?" interposed 
Dave, curiously. 

"I got it full of water and sand. That reminds me I 
must see about cleaning it. I never thought of shooting 
back. Silvermane was running too fast." 

"Jack, you can see I am in the worst fix of my life," said 
August Naab. "My sons have persuaded me that I was 
pushed oflF my ranges too easily. I've come to believe 
Martin Cole; certainly his prophecy has come true. Dave 
brought news from White Sage, and it's almost unbelievable. 
Holderness has proclaimed himself or has actually got 
himself elected sheriff. He holds ofiice over the Mormons 
from whom he steals. Scarcely a day goes by in the village 
without a killing. The Mormons north of Lund finally 
banded together, hanged some rustlers, and drove the others 
out. Many of them have come down into our country, and 
Holderness now has a strong force. But the Mormons 
will rise against him. I know it; I see it. I am waiting 
for it. We are God-fearing, life-loving men, slow to wrath. 
But—" 

242 



THE SWOOP OF THE HAWK 

The deep rolling burr in his voice showed emotion too 
deep for words. 

"They need a leader," replied Hare, sharply. 

August Naab rose with haggard face and his eyes had the 
look of a man accused. 

"Dad figures this way," put in Dave. "On the one hand 
we lose our water and stock without bloodshed. We have 
a living in the oasis. There's little here to attract rustlers, 
so we may live in peace if we give up our rights. On the 
other hand, suppose Dad gets the Navajos down here and 
we join them and go after Holderness and his gang. There's 
going to be an all-fired bloody fight. Of course we'd wipe 
out the rustlers, but some of us would get killed — and there 
are the wives and kids. See!" 

The force of August Naab's argument for peace, entirely 
aside from his Christian repugnance to the shedding of 
blood, was plainly unassailable. 

"Remember what Snap said ?" asked Hare, suddenly. 
" One man to kill Dene ! Therefore one man to kill Holder- 
ness! That would break the power of this band." 

"Ah! you've said it," replied Dave, raising a tense arm. 

"It's a one-man job. D n Snap! He could have done 

it, if he hadn't gone to the bad. But it won't be easy. I 
tried to get Holderness. He was wise, and his men politely 
said they had enjoyed my call, but I wasn't to come 
again." 

"One man to kill Holderness!" repeated Hare. 

August Naab cast at the speaker one of his far-seeing 
glances; then he shook himself, as if to throw off the grip of 
something hard and inevitable. "I'm still master here," 
he said, and his voice showed the conquest of his passions. 

243 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"I give up Silver Cup and my stock. Maybe that will con- 
tent Holdemess." 

Some days went by pleasantly for Hare, as he rested from 
his long exertions. Naab's former cheer and that of his 
family reasserted itself once the decision was made, and the 
daily life went on as usual. The sons worked in the fields 
by day, and in the evening played at pitching horseshoes 
on the bare circle where the children romped. The women 
went on baking, sewing, and singing. August Naab's 
prayers were more fervent than ever, and he even prayed 
for the soul of the man who had robbed him. Mescal's 
cheeks soon rounded out to their old contour and her eyes 
shone with a happier light than Hare had ever seen there. 
The races between Silvermane and Black Bolly were re- 
newed on the long stretch under the wall, and Mescal forgot 
that she had once acknowledged the superiority of the gray. 
The cottonwoods showered silken floss till the cabins and 
grass were white; the birds returned to the oasis; the sun 
kissed warm color into the cherries, and the distant noise of 
the river seemed like the humming of a swarm of bees. 

"Here, Jack," said August Naab, one morning, "get a 
spade and come with me. There's a break somewhere in 
the ditch." 

Hare went with him out along the fence by the alfalfa- 
fields, and round the comer of red wall toward the irrigating- 
dam. 

"Well, Jack, I suppose you'll be asking me for Mescal 
one of these days," said Naab. 

"Yes," replied Hare. 

"There's a little story to tell you about Mescal, when the 
day comes." 

244 



THE SWOOP OF THE HAWK 

"Tell it now." 

"No. Not yet. I'm glad you found her. I never knew 
her to be so happy, not even when she was a child. But 
somehow there's a better feeling between her and my women- 
folk. The old antagonism is gone. Well, well, life is so. 
I pray that things may turn out well for you and her. But 
I fear — I seem to see — Hare, I'm a poor man once more. 
I can't do for you what I'd like. Still we'll see, we'll hope." 

Hare was perfectly happy. The old Mormon's hint did 
not disturb him; even the thought of Snap Naab did not 
return to trouble his contentment. The full present was 
sufficient for Hare, and his joy bubbled over, bringing 
smiles to August's grave face. Never had a summer after- 
noon in the oasis been so fair. The green fields, the red 
walls, the blue sky, all seemed drenched in deeper, richer 
hues. The wind-song in the crags, the river-murmur from 
the canon, filled Hare's ears with music. To be alive, to 
feel the sun, to see the colors, to hear the sounds, was 
beautiful; and to know that Mescal awaited him, was 
enough. 

Work on the washed-out bank of the ditch had not gone 
far when Naab raised his head as if listening. 

"Did you hear anything?" he asked. 

"No," replied Hare. 

"The roar of the river is heavy here. Maybe I was mis- 
taken. I thought I heard shots." Then he went on spad' 
ing clay into the break, but he stopped every moment or so, 
uneasily, as if he could not get rid of some disturbing 
thought. Suddenly he dropped the spade and his eyes 
flashed. 

"Judith! Judith! Here!" he called. Wheeling with a 
245 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

sudden premonition of evil Hare saw the girl running along 
the wall toward them. Her face was white as death; 
she wrung her hands and her cries rose above the sound of 
the river. Naab sprang toward her and Hare ran at his 
heels. 

"Father! — Father!" she panted. "Come — quick — 
the rustlers! — the rustlers! Snap! — Dene — Oh — hurry! 
They've killed Dave — they've got Mescal!" 

Death itself shuddered through Hare's veins and then 
a raging flood of fire. He bounded forward to be flung 
back by Naab's arm. 

"Fool! Would you throw away your life ? Go slowly. 
We'll slip through the fields, under the trees." 

Sick and cold Hare hurried by Naab's side round the wall 
and into the alfalfa. There were moments when he was 
weak and trembling; others when he could have leaped 
like a tiger to rend and kill. 

They left the fields and went on more cautiously into 
the grove. The screaming and wailing of women added 
certainty to their doubt and dread. 

"I see only the women — ^the children — no — ^there's a 
man — ^Zeke," said Hare, bending low to gaze under the 
branches. 

"Go slow," muttered Naab. 

"The rustlers rode off— after Mescal — she's gone!" 
panted Judith. 

Hare, spurred by the possibilities in the half-crazed girl's 
speech, cast caution to the winds and dashed forward 
into the glade. Naab's heavy steps thudded behind him. 

In the comer of the porch scared and stupefied children 
huddled in a heap. George and Billy bent over Dave, who 

246 



THE SWOOP OF THE HAWK 

sat white-faced against the steps. Blood oozed through the 
fingers pressed to his breast. Zeke was trying to calm the 
women. 

"My God! Dave!" cried Hare. "You're not hard hit? 
Don't say it!" 

"Hard hit — Jack — old fellow," replied Dave, with a pale 
smile. His face was white and clammy. 

August Naab looked once at him and groaned, "My son! 
My son!" 

"Dad — I got Chance and Culver — there they lie in the 
road — not bungled, either!" 

Hare saw the inert forms of two men lying near the gate; 
one rested on his face, arm outstretched with a Colt gripped 
in the stiff hand; the other lay on his back, his spurs deep 
in the ground, as if driven there in his last convulsion. 

August Naab and Zeke carried the injured man into the 
house. The women and children followed, and Hare, with 
Billy and George, entered last. 

"Dad — I'm shot clean through-^Iow down," said Dave, 
as they laid him on a couch. "It's just as well I — as any 
one — somebody had to — start this fight." 

Naab got the children and the girls out of the room. The 
women were silent now, except Dave's wife, who clung to 
hiiii with low moans. He smiled upon all with a quick intent 
smile, then he held out a hand to Hare. 

"Jack, we got — to be — good friends. Don't forget — 
that — when you meet — Holderness. He shot me — from 
behind Chance and Culver — and after I fell — I killed them 
both — trying to get him. You — won't hang up — ^your gun 
— ^again — will you ?" 

Hare wrung the cold hand clasping his so feebly. "No! 
247 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Dave, no!" Then he fled from the room. For an hout 
he stood on the porch waiting in dumb misery. George and 
Zeke came noiselessly out, followed by their father. 

"It's all over. Hare." Another tragedy had passed by 
this man of the desert, and left his strength unshaken, but 
his deadly quiet and the gloom of his iron face were more 
terrible to see than any grief. 

"Father, and you. Hare, come out into the road," said 
George. 

Another motionless form lay beyond Chance and Culver. 
It was that of a slight man, flat on his back, his arms 
wide, his long black hair in the dust. Under the white 
level brow the face had been crushed into a bloody 
curve. 

"Dene!" burst from Hare, in a whisper. 

"Killed by a horse!" exclaimed August Naab. "Ah! 
What horse ?" 

"Silvermane!" replied George. 

"Who rode my horse — tell me — quick!" cried Hare, 
in a frenzy. 

"It was Mescal. Listen. Let me tell you how it all 
happened. I was out at the forge when I heard a bunch 
of horses coming up the lane. I wasn't packing my gun, 
but I ran anyway. When I got to the house there was Dave 
facing Snap, Dene, and a bunch of rustlers. I saw Chance 
at first, but not Holderness. There must have been twenty 
men. 

"'I came after Mescal, that's what,' Snap was saying. 

"'You can't have her,' Dave answered. 

"'We'll shore take her, an' we want Silvermane, too,' 
said Dene. 

248 



THE SWOOP OF THE HAWK 

'"So you're a horse-thief as well as a rustler?' asked 
Dave. 

"'Naab, I ain't in any mind to fool. Snap wants the 
girl, an' I want Silvermane, an' that damned spy that come 
back to life.' 

"Then Holdemess spoke from the back of the crowd: 
'Naab, you'd better hurry, if you don't want the house 
burned!' 

"Dave drew and Holderness fired from behind the men. 
Dave fell, raised up and shot Chance and Culver, then 
dropped his gun. 

"With that the women in the house began to scream, and 
Mescal ran out saying she'd go with Snap if they'd do no 
more harm. 

"'All right,' said Snap, 'get a horse, hurry — hurry!' 

"Then Dene dismounted and went toward the corral 
saying, ' I shore want Silvermane.' 

"Mescal reached the gate ahead of Dene. 'Let me get 
Silvermane. He's wild; he doesn't know you; he'll kick 
you if you go near him.' She dropped the bars and went 
up to the horse. He was rearing and snorting. She coaxed 
him down and then stepped up on the fence to untie him. 
When she had him loose she leaped off the fence to his back, 
screaming as she hit him with the halter. Silvermane 
snorted and jumped, and in three jumps he was going 
like a bullet. Dene tried to stop him, and was knocked 
twenty feet. He was raising up when the stallion ran over 
liim. He never moved again. Once in the lane Silvermane 
got going — Lord! how he did run! Mescal hung low over 
his neck like an Indian. He was gone in a cloud of dust 
before Snap and the rustlers knew what had happened. 

249 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Snap came to first and, yelling and waving his gun, 
spurred down the lane. The rest of the rustlers galloped 
after him." 

August Naab placed a sympathetic hand on Hare's 
shaking shoulder. 

"You see, lad, things are never so bad as they seem at 
first. Snap might as well tiy to catch a bird as Silvermane." 



XVIII 

THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"|\ yiESCAL'S far out in front by this time. Depend on 
I V 1 it. Hare," went on Naab. "That trick was the cun- 
ning Indian of her. She'll ride Silvermane into White Sage 
to-morrow night. Then she'll hide from Snap. The Bishop 
will take care of her. She'll be safe for the present in 
White Sage. Now we must bury these men. To-morrow 
— my son. Then — " 

"What then ?" Hare straightened up. 

Unutterable pain darkened the flame in the Mormon's 
gaze. For an instant his face worked spasmodically, only 
to stiffen into a stony mask. It was the old conflict once 
more, the never-ending war between flesh and spirit. And 
now the flesh had prevailed. 

"The time has come!" said George Naab. 

"Yes," replied his father, harshly. 

A great calm settled over Hare; his blood ceased to race, 
his mind to riot; in August Naab's momentous word he 
knew the old man had found himself. At last he had 
learned the lesson of the desert — to strike first and 
hard. 

"Zeke, hitch up a team," said August Naab. "No — 
wait a moment. Here comes Piute. Let's hear what he 
has to say." 

17 251 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Piute appeared on the zigzag cliff-trail, driving a burro 
at dangerous speed. 

"He's sighted Silvermane and the rustlers," suggested 
George, as the shepherd approached. 

Naab translated the excited Indian's mingling of Navajo 
and Piute languages to mean just what George had said. 
"Snap ahead of riders — Silvermane far, far ahead of Snap 
— running fast — damn!" 

"Mescal's pushing him hard to make the sand-strip," 
said George. 

"Piute — three fires to-night — Lookout Point!" This 
order meant the execution of August Naab's hurry-signal 
for the Navajos, and after he had given it, he waved the 
Indian toward the cliff, and lapsed into a silence which no 
one dared to break. 

Naab consigned the bodies of the rustlers to the famous 
cemetery under the red wall. He laid Dene in grave thirty- 
one. It was the grave that the outlaw had promised as the 
last resting-place of Dene's spy. Chance and Culver he 
buried together. It was noteworthy that no Mormon rites 
were conferred on Culver, once a Mormon in good standing, 
nor were any prayers spoken over the open graves. 

What did August Naab intend to do? That was the 
question in Hare's mind as he left the house. It was a 
silent day, warm as summer, though the sun was overcast 
with gray clouds; the birds were quiet in the trees; there 
was no bray of burro or clarion-call of peacock, even the 
hum of the river had fallen into silence. Hare wandered 
over the farm and down the red lane, brooding over the 
issue. Naab's few words had been full of meaning; 
the cold gloom, so foreign to his nature, had been even more 

252 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

impressive. His had been the revolt of the meek. The 
gentle, the loving, the administering, the spiritual uses of 
his life had failed. 

Hare recalled what the desert had done to his own nature, 
how it had bred in him its impulse to fight, to resist, 
io survive. If he, a stranger of a few years, could be 
moulded in the flaming furnace of its fiery life, what then 
must be the cast of August Naab, born on the desert, and 
sleeping five nights out of seven on the sands for sixty 
^ears ? 

The desert! Hare trembled as he grasped all its meaning. 
Then he slowly resolved that meaning. There were the 
measureless distances to narrow the eye and teach restraint; 
the untrodden trails, the shifting sands, the thorny brakes, 
the broken lava to pierce the flesh; the heights and 
depths, unscalable and unplumbed. And over all the 
sun, red and burning. 

The parched plants of the desert fought for life, growing 
far apart, sending enormous roots deep to pierce the sand 
and split the rock for moisture, arming every leaf with a 
barbed thorn or poisoned sap, never thriving and evei 
thirsting. 

The creatures of the desert endured the sun and lived 
without water, and were at endless war. The hawk had 
a keener eye than his fellow of more fruitful lands, sharper 
beak, greater spread of wings, and claws of deeper curve. 
For him there was little to eat, a rabbit now, a rock-rat 
then; nature made his swoop like lightning and it never 
missed its aim. The gaunt wolf never failed in his sure 
scent, in his silent hunt. The lizard flicked an invisible 
jongue into the heart of a flower; and the bee he caught 

253 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

stung with a poisoned sting. The battle of life went to the 
strong. 

So the desert trained each of its wild things to survive. 
No eye of the desert but burned with the flame of the sun. 
To kill or to escape death — ^that was the dominant motive. 
To fight barrenness and heat — ^that was stem enough, but 
each creature must fight his fellow. 

What then of the men who drifted into the desert and 
survived ? They must of necessity endure the wind and 
heat, the drouth and famine; they must grow lean and 
hard, keen-eyed and silent. The weak, the humble, the 
sacrificing must be winnowed from among them. As each 
man developed he took on some aspect of the desert — 
Holderness had the amber clearness of its distances in 
his eyes, its deceit in his soul; August Naab, the magnifi- 
cence of the desert-pine in his giant form, its strength in his 
heart; Snap Naab, the cast of the hawk-beak in his face, its 
cruelty in his nature. But all shared alike in the common 
element of survival — ferocity. August Naab had sub- 
dued his to the promptings of a Christ-like spirit; yet did 
not his very energy, his wonderful tirelessness, his will to 
achieve, his power to resist, partake of that fierceness? 
Moreover, after many struggles, he too had been overcome 
by the desert's call for blood. His mystery was no longer 
a mystery. Always in those moments of revelation which 
he disclaimed, he had seen himself as faithful to the desert 
In the end. 

Hare's slumbers that night were broken. He dreamed 
of a great gray horse leaping in the sky from cloud to cloud 
with the lightning and the thunder under his hoofs, the 
storm-winds sweeping from his silver mane. He dre^me^ 

?54 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

of Mescal's brooding eyes. They were dark gateways of the 
desert open only to him, and he entered to chase the alluring 
stars deep into the purple distance. He dreamed of himself 
waiting in serene confidence for some unknown thing to 
pass. He awakened late in the morning and found the 
house hushed. The day wore on in a repose unstirred by 
breeze and sound, in accord with the mourning of August 
Naab. At noon a solemn procession wended its slow 
course to the shadow of the red cliff, and as solemnly 
returned. 

Then a long-drawn piercing Indian whoop broke the 
midday hush. It heralded the approach of the Navajos. 
In single-file they rode up the lane, and when the falcon- 
eyed Eschtah dismounted before his white friend, the line 
of his warriors still turned the comer of the red wall. Next 
to the chieftain rode Scarbreast, the grim war-lord of the 
Navajos. His followers trailed into the grove. Their 
sinewy bronze bodies, almost naked, glistened wet from the 
river. Full a hundred strong were they, a silent, lean- 
limbed desert troop. 

"The White Prophet's fires burned bright," said the 
chieftain. "Eschtah is here." 

"The Navajo is a friend," replied Naab. "The white 
man needs counsel and help. He has fallen upon evil 
days." 

"Eschtah sees war in the eyes of his friend." 

"War, chief, war! Let the Navajo and his warriors rest 
and eat. Then we shall speak." 

A single command from the Navajo broke the waiting 
files of warriors. Mustangs were turned into the fields, 
packs were unstrapped from the burros, blankets spread 

255 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

under the cottonwoods. When the afternoon waned and 
the shade from the western wall crept into the oasis, August 
Naab came from his cabin clad in buckskins, with a large 
blue Colt swinging handle outward from his left hip. He 
ordered his sons to replenish the fire which had been built 
in the circle, and when the fierce-eyed Indians gathered 
round the blaze he called to his women to bring meat and 
drink. 

Hare's unnatural calmness had prevailed until he saw 
Naab stride out to front the waiting Indians. Then a 
ripple of cold passed over him. He leaned against a tree 
in the shadow and watched the gray-faced giant stalking to 
and fro before his Indian friends. A long while he strode 
in the circle of light to pause at length before the chieftains 
and to break the impressive silence with his deep voice. 

"Eschtah sees before him a friend stung to his heart. 
Men of his own color have long injured him, yet have lived. 
The Mormon loved his fellows and forgave. Five sons 
he laid in their graves, yet his heart was not hardened. His 
first-bom went the trail of the fire-water and is an outcast 
from his people. Many enemies has he and one is a chief. 
He has killed the white man's friends, stolen his cattle, and 
his water. To-day the white man laid another son in his 
grave. What thinks the chief? Would he not crush the 
(Scorpion that stung him ?" 

The old Navajo answered in speech which, when trans- 
lated, was as stately as the Mormon's. 

" Eschtah respects his friend, but he has not thought him 
wise. The White Prophet sees visions of things to come, 
but his blood is cold. He asks too much of the white man's 
God. He is a chief; he has an eye like the lightning, an 

256 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

arm strong as the pine, yet he has not struck. Eschtah 
grieves. He does not wish to shed blood for pleasure. 
But Eschtah's friend has let too many selfish men cross his 
range and drink at his springs. Only a few can live on the 
desert. Let him who has found the springs and the trails 
keep them for his own. Let him who came too late go away 
to find for himself, to prove himself a warrior, or let his 
bones whiten in the sand. The Navajo counsels his white 
friend to kill." 

"The great Eschtah speaks wise words," said Naab. 
"The White Prophet is richer for them. He will lay aside 
tne prayers to his unseeing God, and will seek his foe." 

"It is well." 

"The white man's foe is strong," went on the Mormon; 
"he has many men, they will fight. If Eschtah sends his 
braves with his friend there will be war. Many braves will 
fall. The White Prophet wishes to save them if he can. 
He will go forth alone to kill his foe. If the sun sets four 
times and the white man is not here, then Eschtah will send 
his great war-chief and his warriors. They will kill whom 
they find at the white man's springs. And thereafter half 
of all the white man's cattle that were stolen shall be Esch- 
tah's, so that he watch over the water and range." 

"Eschtah greets a chief," answered the Indian. "The 
White Prophet knows he will kill his enemy, but he is not 
sure he will return. He is not sure that the little braves of 
his foe will fly like the winds, yet he hopes. So he holds 
the Navajo back to the last. Eschtah will watch the sun 
set four times. If his white friend returns he will rejoice. 
If he does not return the Navajo will send his warriors on 
the trail." 

257 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

August Naab walked swiftly from the circle of light into 
the darkness; his heavy steps sounded on the porch, and 
in the hallway. His three sons went toward their cabins 
with bowed heads and silent tongues. Eschtah folded his 
blanket about him and stalked off into the gloom of the 
grove, followed by his warriors. ' 

Hare remained in the shadow of the cottonwood where he 
had stood unnoticed. He had not moved a muscle since 
he had heard August Naab's declaration. That one word 
of Naab's intention, "Alone!" had arrested him. For it 
had struck into his heart and mind. It had paralyzed him 
with the revelation it brought; for Hare now knew as 
he had never known anything before, that he would 
forestall August Naab, avenge the death of Dave, and kill 
the rustler Holdemess. Through blinding shock he passed 
slowly into cold acceptance of his heritage from the desert. 

The two long years of his desert training were as an 
open page to Hare's unveiled eyes. The life he owed 
to August Naab, the strength built up by the old man's 
knowledge of the healing power of plateau and range — 
these lay in a long curve between the day Naab had lifted 
him out of the White Sage trail and this day of the Mor- 
mon's extremity. A long curve with Holdemess's insulting 
blow at the beginning, his murder of a beloved friend at the 
end! For Hare remembered the blow, and never would 
he forget Dave's last words. Yst unforgetable as these 
were, it was duty rather than revenge that called him. This 
was August Naab's hour of need. Hare knew himself to be 
the tool of inscrutable fate; he was the one to fight the old 
desert-scarred Mormon's battle. Hare recalled how humbly 
he had expressed his gratitude to Naab, and the apparent 

258 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

impossibility of ever repaying him, and then Naab's reply: 
"Lad, you can never tell how one man may repay another." 
Hare could pay his own debt and that of the many wan- 
derers who had drifted across the sands to find a home 
with the Mormon. These men stirred in their graves, and 
from out the shadow of the cliff whispered the voice of 
Mescal's nameless father: "Is there no one to rise up for 
this old hero of the desert ?" 

Softly Hare slipped into his room. Putting on coat and 
belt and catching vp his rifle he stole out again stealthily, 
like an Indian. In the darkness of the wagon-shed he felt 
for his saddle, and finding it, he groped with eager hands 
for the grain-box; raising the lid he filled a measure with 
grain, and emptied it into his saddle-bag. Then lifting the 
saddle he carried it out of the yard, through the gate and 
across the lane to the corrals. The wilder mustangs in the 
far corral began to kick and snort, and those in the corral 
where Black Bolly was kept trooped noisily to the bars. 
BoUy whinnied and thrust her black muzzle over the fence. 
Hare placed a caressing hand on her while he waited 
listening and watching. It was not unusual for the mus- 
tangs to get restless at any time, and Hare was confident 
that this would pass without investigation. 

Gradually the restless stampings and suspicious snortings 
ceased, and Hare, letting down the bars, led Bolly out into 
the lane. It was the work of a moment to saddle her; his 
bridle hung where he always kept it, on the pommel, and 
with nimble fingers he shortened the several straps to fit 
Bolly's head, and slipped the bit between her teeth. Then 
he put up the bars of the gate. 

Before mounting he stood a moment thinking coolly, 
259 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

deliberately numbering the several necessities he must not 
forget — ^grain for Bolly, food for himself, his Colt and 
Winchester, cartridges, canteen, matches, knife. He in- 
serted a hand into one of his saddle-bags expecting to find 
some strips of meat. The bag was empty. He felt in the 
other one, and under the grain he found what he sought. 
The canteen lay in the coil of his lasso tied to the saddle, 
and its heavy canvas covering was damp to his touch. 
With that he thrust the long Winchester into its saddle- 
sheath, and swung his leg over the mustang. 

The house of the Naabs was dark and still. The dying 
council-fire cast flickering shadows under the black cotton- 
woods where the Navajos slept. The faint breeze that 
rustled the leaves brought the low sullen roar of the river. 

Hare guided BoUy into the thick dust of the lane, laid 
the bridle loosely on her neck for her to choose the trail, and 
silently rode out into the lonely desert night. 



XIX 

UNLEASHED 

HARE, listening breathlessly, rode on toward the gateway 
of the cliffs, and when he had passed the corner of 
the wall he sighed in relief. Spurring Bolly into a trot he 
rode forward with a strange elation. He had slipped out 
of the oasis unheard, and it would be morning before August 
Naab discovered his absence, perhaps longer before he 
divined his purpose. Then Hare would have a long start. 
He thrilled with something akin to fear when he pictured 
the old man's rage, and wondered what change it would 
make in his plans. Hare saw in mind Naab and his sons, 
and the Navajos sweeping in pursuit to save him from the 
rustlers. 

But the future must take care of itself, and he addressed 
all the faculties at his command to cool consideration of the 
present. The strip of sand under the Blue Star had to be 
crossed at night — a feat which even the Navajos did not 
have to their credit. Yet Hare had no shrinking; he had 
no doubt; he must go on. As he had been drawn to the 
Painted Desert by a voiceless call, so now he was urged 
forward by something nameless. 

In the blackness of the night it seemed as if he were riding 
through a vaulted hall swept by a current of air. The night 
had turned cold, the stars had brightened icily, the rumble 

261 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

of the river had died away when BoUy's ringing trot suddenly 
changed to a noiseless floundering walk. She had come 
upon the sand. Hare saw the Blue Star in the cliflF, and 
once more loosed the rein on BoUy's neck. She stopped 
and champed her bit, and turned her black head to him as 
if to intimate that she wanted the guidance of a sure arm. 
But as it was not forthcoming she stepped onward into the 
yielding sand. 

With hands resting idly on the pommel Hare sat at ease 
in the saddle. The billowy dunes reflected the pale star- 
light and fell away from him to darken in obscurity. So 
long as the Blue Star remained in sight he kept his sense of 
direction; when it had disappeared he felt himself lost. 
Bolly's course seemed as crooked as the jagged outline 
of the clifl's. She climbed straight up little knolls, descended 
them at an angle, turned sharply at wind-washed gullies, 
made winding detours, zigzagged levels th^t shone like a 
polished floor; and at last (so it seemed to Hare) she 
doubled back on her trail. The black cliflf" receded over the 
Waves of sand; the stars changed positions, travelled round 
in the blue dome, and the few that he knew finally sank 
below the horizon. Bolly never lagged; she was like the 
homeward - bound horse, indifferent to direction because 
sure of it, eager to finish the journey because now it was 
short. Hare was glad though not surprised when she 
snorted and cracked her iron-shod hoof on a stone at the 
edge of the sand. He smiled with tightening lips as he 
rode into the shadow of a rock which he recognized. 
Bolly had crossed the treacherous belt of dunes and washes 
and had struck the trail on the other side. 

The long level of wind-carved rocks under the cliffs, the 
262 



UNLEASHED 

ridges of the desert, the miles of slow ascent up to the rough 
divide, the gradual descent to the cedars — these stretches 
of his journey took the night hours and ended with the 
brightening gray in the east. Within a mile of Silver Cup 
Spring Hare dismounted, to tie folded pads of buckskin on 
Dolly's hoofs. When her feet were muffled, he cautiously 
advanced on the trail for the matter of a hundred rods or 
more; then sheered off to the right into the cedars. He led 
Bolly slowly, without rattling a stone or snapping a twig, 
and stopped every few paces to listen. There was no sound 
other than the wind in the cedars. Presently, with a gasp, 
he caught the dull gleam of a burned-out camp-fire. Then 
his movements became as guarded, as noiseless as those of 
a scouting Indian. The dawn broke over the red wall as 
he gained the trail beyond the spring. 

He rkirted the curve of the valley and led Bolly a little 
way up the wooded slo{>e ''o a dense thicket of aspens in a 
hollow. This thicket encircled a patch of grass. Hare 
pressed the lithe aspens aside to admit Bolly and left her 
there free. He drew his rifle from its sheath and, after 
assuring himself that the mustang could not be seen or 
heard from below, he bent his steps diagonally up the 
slope. 

Every foot of this ground he knew, and he climbed swiftly 
until he struck the mountain trail. Then, descending, he 
entered the cedars. At last he reached a point directly 
above the cliff-camp where he had spent so many days, and 
this he knew overhung the cabjn built by Holdemess. He 
stole dovm from tree to tree and slipped from thicket to 
thicket. The sun, red as blood, raised a bright crescent 
over the red wall; the soft mists of the valley began to glow 

?63 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

and move; cattle were working in toward the spring. Never 
brushing a branchy never dislodging a stone, Hare descended 
the slope, his eyes keener, his ears sharper with every step. 
Soon the edge of the gray stons cliff below shut out the lower 
level of cedars. While resting he listened. Then he marked 
his course down the last bit of slanting ground to the cliff 
bench which faced the valley. This space was open, rough 
with crumbling rock and dead cedar brush — a difficult place 
to cross without sound. Deliberate in his choice of steps, 
very slow in moving. Hare went on with a stealth 
which satisfied even his intent ear. When the wide gray 
strip of stone drew slowly into the circle of his downcast 
gaze he sank to the ground with a slight trembling in all his 
limbs. There was a thick bush on the edge of the cliff; in 
three steps he could reach it and, unseen himself, look down 
upon the camp. 

A little cloud or smoke rose lazily and capped a slender 
column of blue. Sounds were wafted softly upward, the low 
voices of men in conversation, a merry whistle, and then the 
humming of a tune. Hare's mouth was dry and his temples 
throbbed as he asked himself what it was best to do. The 
answer came instantaneously as though it had lain just 
below the level of his conscious thought. "I'll watch till 
Holdemess walks out into sight, jump up with a yell when 
he comes, give him time to see me, to draw his gun — ^then 
kill him!" 

Hare slipped to the bush, drew in a deep long breath that 
stilled his agitation, and peered over the cliff. The crude 
shingles of the cabin first rose into sight; then beyond he 
saw the corral with a number of shaggy mustangs and a 
great gray horse. Hare stared blankly. As in a dream 

264 



UNLEASHED 

he saw the proud arch of a splendid neck, the graceful 
Wave of a white-crested mane. 

"Silvermane! . . . My God!" he gasped, suddenly. 
"They caught him — after all!" 

He fell backward upon the cliff and lay there with hands 
clinching his rifle, shudderingly conscious of a blow, trying 
to comprehend its meaning. 

"Silvermane! . . . they caught him — after all!" 
he kept repeating; then in a flash of agonized understand- 
ing he whispered : "Mescal . . . Mescal!" . . . 

He rolled upon his face, shutting out the blue sky; 
his body stretched stiff as a bent spring released from its 
compress, and his nails dented the stock of his rifle. Then 
this rigidity softened to sobs that shook him from head 
to foot. He sat up, haggard and wild-eyed. 

Silvermane had been captured, probably by rustlers wait- 
ing at the western edge of the sand-strip. Mescal had fallen 
into the hands of Snap Naab. But Mescal was surely alive 
and Snap was there to be killed; his long Career of unre- 
strained cruelty was in its last day — something told Hare 
that this thing must and should be. The stern deliberation 
of his intent to kill Holderness, the passion of his purpose 
to pay his debt to August Naab, were as nothing compared 
to the gathering might of this new resolve; suddenly he felt 
free and strong as an untamed lion broken free from his 
captors. 

From the cover of the bush he peered again over the cliff. 
The cabin with its closed door facing him was scarcely two 
hundred feet down from his hiding-place. One of the 
rustlers sang as he bent over the camp-fire and raked the 
coals around the pots; others lounged on a bench waiting 

265 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

for breakfast; some rolled out of their blankets; they 
stretched and yawned, and pulling on their boots made for 
the spring. The last man to rise was Snap Naab, and he 
had slept with his head on the threshold of the door. Evi- 
dently Snap had made Mescal a prisoner in the cabin, and 
no one could go in or out without stepping upon him. The 
rustler-foreman of Holderness's company had slept with 
his belt containing two Colts, nor had he removed his boots. 
Hare noted these details with grim humor. Now the tall 
Holderness, face shining, gold-red beard agleam, rounded 
the cabin whistling. Hare watched the rustlers sit down 
to breakfast, and here and there caught a loud-spoken word, 
and marked their leisurely care-free manner. Snap Naab 
took up a pan of food and a cup of coiFee, carried them into 
the cabin, and came out, shutting the door. 
' After breakfast most of the rustlers set themselves to 
their various tasks. Hare watched them with the eyes 
of a lynx watching deer. Several men were arranging 
articles for packing, and their actions were slow to the point 
of laziness; others trooped down toward the corral. 
Holderness rolled a cigarette and stooped over the camp- 
fire to reach a burning stick. Snap Naab stalked to and fro 
before the door of the cabin. He alone of the rustler's 
band showed restlessness, and more than once he glanced 
up the trail that led over the divide toward his father's 
oasis. Holderness sent expectant glances in the other 
direction toward Seeping Springs. Once his clear voice 
rang out: 

"I tell you, Naab, there's no hurry. We'll ride in to- 
morrow." 

A thousand thoughts flitted through Hare's mind — a 
266 



UNLEASHED 

steady stream of questions and answers. Why did Snap 
look anxiously along the oasis trail? It was not that he 
feared his father or his brothers alone, but there was always 
the menace of the Navajos. Why was Holderness in no 
hurry to leave Silver Cup ? Why did he lag at the spring 
when, if he expected riders from his ranch, he could have 
gone on to meet them, obviously saving time and putting 
greater distance between him and the men he had wronged ? 
Was it utter fearlessness or only a deep-played game ? 
Holderness and his rustlers, all except the gloomy Naab, 
were blind to the peril that lay beyond the divide. How 
soon would August Naab strike out on the White Sage 
trail ? Would he come alone ? Whether he came alone 
or at the head of his hard-riding Navajos he would arrive 
too late. Holderness's life was not worth a pinch of the 
ashes he flecked so carelessly from his cigarette. Snap 
Naab's gloom, his long stride, his nervous hand always on 
or near the butt of his Colt, spoke the keenness of his desert 
instinct. For him the sun had arisen red over the red 
wall. Had he harmed Mescal? Why did he keep the 
cabin door shut and guard it so closely ? 

While Hare watched and thought the hours sped by. 
Holderness lounged about and Snap kept silent guard. 
The rustlers smoked, slept, and moved about; the day waned, 
and the shadow of the clifF crept over the cabin. To Hare 
the time had been as a moment; he was amazed to find the 
sun had gone down behind Coconina. If August Naab 
had left the oasis at dawn he must now be near the divide, 
unless he had been delayed by a wind-storm at the strip of 
sand. Hare longed to see the roan charger come up over 
the crest; he longed to see a file of Navajos, plumes waving, 
18 267 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

dark mustangs gleaming in the red light, sweep down the 
stony ridge toward the cedars. "If they come," he whis- 
pered, "I'll kill Holdemess and Snap and any man who 
tries to open that cabin door." 

So he waited in tense watchfulness, his gaze alternating 
between the wavy line of the divide and the camp glade. 
Out in the valley it was still daylight, but under the clifF 
twilight had fallen. All day' Hare had strained his ears 
to hear the talk of the rustlers, and it now occurred to him 
that if he climbed down through the split in the cliff to the 
bench where Dave and George had always hidden to watch 
the spring he would be just above the camp. This descent 
involved risk, but since it would enable him to see the 
cabin door when darkness set in, he decided to venture. 
The moment was propitious, for the rustlers were bustling 
around, cooking dinner, unrolling blankets, and moving to 
and fro from spring and corral. Hare crawled back a few 
yards and along the cliff until he reached the split. It was 
a narrow steep crack which he well remembered. Going 
down was attended with two dangers — losing his hold, and 
the possible rattling of stones. Face foremost he slipped 
downward with the gliding, sinuous movement of a snake, 
and reaching the grassy bench he lay quiet. Jesting 
voices and loud laughter from below reassured him. He 
had not been heard. His new position afforded every 
chance to see and hear, and also gave means of rapid, 
noiseless retreat along the bench to the cedars. Lying 
flat he crawled stealthily to the bushy fringe of the 
bench. 

A bright fire blazed under the cliff. Men were moving 
and lauding. The cabin doer was open. Mescal stood 

26S 



UNLEASHED 

leaning back from Snap Naab, struggling to release her 
hands. 

"Let me untie them, I say," growled Snap. 

Mescal tore loose from him and stepped back. Her 
hands were bound before her, and twisting them outward, 
she warded him off. Her dishevelled hair almost hid her 
dark eyes. They burned in a level glance of hate and 
defiance. She was a little lioness, quivering with fieiy life, 
fight in every line of her form. 

"All right, don't eat then — starve!" said Snap. 

"I'll starve before I eat what you give me." 

The rustlers laughed. Holderness blew out a puff of 
smoke and smiled. Snap glowered upon Mescal and then 
upon his amiable companions. One of them, a ruddy- 
faced fellow, walked toward Mescal. 

"Cool down. Snap, cool down," he said. "We're not 
goin' to stand for a girl starvin'. She ain't eat a bite yet. 
Here, Miss, let me untie your hands — there. . . . SayJ 
Naab, d n you, her wrists are black an' blue!" 

"Look out! Your gun!" yelled Snap. 

With a swift movement Mescal snatched the man's Colt 
from its holster and was raising it when he grasped her arm. 
She winced and dropped the weapon. 

"You little Indian devil!" exclaimed the rustler, in a rapt 
admiration. "Sorry to hurt you, an' more'n sorry to spoil 
your aim. Thet wasn't kind to throw my own gun on me, 
jest after I'd played the gentleman, now, was it ?" 

"I didn't — intend — ^to shoot — ^you," panted Mescal. 

"Naab, if this's your Mormon kind of wife — excuse me! 
Though I ain't denyin' she's the sassiest an' sweetest little 
cat I ever seen!" 

269 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"We Mormons don't talk about our women or hear any 
talk," returned Snap, a dancing fuiy in his pale eyes. 
"You're from Nebraska ?" 

"Yep, jest a plain Nebraska rustler, cattle-thief, an' all 
round no-good customer, though I ain't taken to houndin' 
women yet." 

For answer Snap Naab's right hand slowly curved up- 
ward before him and stopped taut and inflexible, while his 
strange eyes seemed to shoot sparks. 

"See here, Naab, why do you want to throw a gun on 
me ?" asked the rustler, coolly. "Hevn't you shot enough 
of your friends yet ? I reckon I've no right to interfere 
in your affairs. I was only protestin' friendly like, for the 
little lady. She's game, an' she's called your hand. An' 

it's not a straight hand. Thet's all, an' d ^n if I care 

whether you are a Mormon or not. I'll bet a hoss Holder- 
ness will back me up." 

"Snap, he's right," put in Holdemess, smoothly. "You 
needn't be so touchy about Mescal. She's showed 
what little use she's got for you. If you must rope her 
around like you do a mustang, be easy about it. Let's have 
supper. Now, Mescal, you sit here on the bench and 
behave yourself I don't want you shooting up my camp." 

Snap turned sullenly aside while Holderness seated Mescal 
near the door and fetched her food and drink. The rustlers 
squatted round the camp-fire, and conversation ceased in 
the business of the meal. 

To Hare the scene had brought a storm of emotions. 
Joy at the sight of Mescal, blessed relief to see her 
unscathed, pride in her fighting spirit — these came side by 
side with gratitude to the kind Nebraska rustler, strange 

270 



UNLEASHED 

deepening insight into Holderness's game, unextinguishable 
white-hot hatred of Snap Naab. And binding all was the 
ever-mounting will to rescue Mescal, which was held in 
check by an inexorable judgment; he must continue to 
Wait. And he did wait with blind faith in the something 
to be, keeping ever in mind the last resort — the rifle he 
clutched with eager hands. Meanwhile the darkness 
descended, the fire sent forth a brighter blaze, and the 
rustlers finished their supper. Mescal arose and stepped 
across the threshold of the cabin door. 

"Hold on!" ordered Snap, as he approached v?ith swift 
strides. "Stick out your hands!" 

Some of the rustlers grumbled; and one blurted out: 
"Aw no. Snap, don't tie her up — no!" 

"Who says no?" hissed the Mormon, with snapping 
teeth. As he wheeled upon them his Colt seemed to leap 
forward, and suddenly quivered at arm's-length, gleaming 
in the ruddy fire-rays. 

Holdemess laughed in the muzzle of the weapon. "Go 
ahead. Snap, tie up your lady love. What a tame little wife 
she's going to make you! Tie her up, but do it without 
hurting her." 

The rustlers growled or laughed at their leader's order. 
Snap turned to his task. Mescal stood in the doorway and 
shrinkingly extended her clasped hands. Holderness 
whirled to the fire with a look which betrayed his game. 
Snap bound Mescal's hands securely, thrust her inside the 
cabin, and after hesitating for a long moment, finally shut 
the door. 

"It's funny about a woman, now, ain't it?" said Nebraska, 
confidentially, to a companion. "One minnit she'll snatch 

271 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

you bald-headed; the next, she'll melt in your mouth like 
sugar. An' I'll be darned if the changeablest one ain't the 

kind to hold a feller longest. But it's h 1. I was married 

onct. Not any more for mine! A pal I had used to say 
that whiskey riled him, thet rattlesnake pisen het up his 
blood some, but it took a woman to make him plumb bad. 

D n if it ain't so. When there's a woman around there's 

somethin' alius comin' off." 

But the strain, instead of relaxing, became portentous. 
Holdemess suddenly showed he was ill at ease; he 
appeared to be expecting arrivals from the direction of 
Seeping Springs. Snap Naab leaned against the side 
of the door, his narrow gaze cunningly studjring the 
rustlers before him. More than any other he had caught 
a foreshadowing. Like the desert-hawk he could see afar. 
Suddenly he pressed back against the door, half opening it 
while he faced the men. 

"Stop!" commanded Holderness. The change in his 
voice was as if it had come from another man. "You don't 
go in there!" 

"I'm going to take the girl and ride to White Sage," 
replied Naab, in slow deliberation. 

"Bah! You say that only for the excuse to get into the 
cabin with her. You tried it last night and I blocked you. 
Shut the door, Naab, or something '11 happen." 

"There's more going to happen than ever you think of, 
Holdemess. Don't interfere now, I'm going." 

"Well, go ahead — but you won't take the girl!" 

Snap Naab swung off the step, slamming the door behind 
him. 

"So-ho!" he exclaimed, sneeringly. " That's why you've 
272 



UNLEASHED 

made me foreman, eh ?" His claw-like hand moved almost 
imperceptibly upward while his pale eyes strove to pierce 
the strength behind Holderness's effrontery. The rustler 
chief had a trump card to play; one that showed in his 
sardonic smile. 

"Naab, you don't get the girl." 

"Maybe you'll get her?" hissed Snap. 

"I always intended to." 

Surely never before had passion driven Snap's hand 
to such speed. His Golt gleamed in the camp-fire light. 
Click! Click! Click! The hammer fell upon empty 
chambers. 

"H /.'" he shrieked. 

Holderness laughed sarcastically. 

"That's where you're going!" he cried. "Here's to 
Naab's trick with a gun — Bah!" And he shot his 
foreman through the heart. 

Snap plunged upon his face. His hands beat the ground 
like the shuffling wings of a wounded partridge. His 
fingers gripped the dust, spread convulsively, straightened, 
and sank limp. 

Holderness called through the door of the cabin. "Mes- 
cal, I've rid you of your would-be husband. Cheer-up!" 
Then, pointing to the fallen man, he said to the nearest 
bystanders: "Some of you drag that out for the coyotes." 

The first fellow who bent over Snap happened to be the 
Nebraska rustler, and he curiously opened the breech of the 
six-shooter he picked up. "No shells!" he said. He 
pulled Snap's second Colt from his belt, and unbreeched 

that. "No shells! Well, d ^n me!" He surveyed the 

group of grim men, not one of whom had any reply. 

273 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Holdemess again laughed harshly, and turning to the cabin, 
he fastened the door with a lasso. 

It was a long time before Hare recovered from the start- 
ling revelation of the plot which had put Mescal into Holder- 
ness's power. Bad as Snap Naab had been he would have 
married her, and such a fate was infinitely preferable to the 
one that now menaced her. Hare changed his position and 
settled himself to watch and wait out the night. Every 
hour Holdemess and his men tarried at Silver Cup hastened 
their approaching doom. Hare's strange prescience of the 
fatality that overshadowed these men had received its first 
verification in the sudden taking off of Snap Naab. The 
deep-scheming Holdemess, confident that his strong band 
meant sure protection, sat and smoked and smiled 
beside the camp-fire. He had not caught even a hint of 
Snap Naab's su^ested waming. Yet somewhere out on 
the oasis trail rode a man who, once turned from the saving 
of life to the lust to kill, would be as immutable as death 
itself. Behind him waited a troop of Navajos, swift as 
eagles, merciless as wolves, desert warriors with the sun- 
heated blood of generations in their veins. As Hare waited 
and watched with all his inner being cold, he could almost 
feel pity for Holdemess. His doom was close. Twice, when 
the rustler chief had sauntered nearer to the cabin door, 
as if to enter, Hare had covered him with the rifle, waiting, 
waiting for the step upon the threshold. But Holdemess 
always checked himself in time, and Hare's finger eased 
its pressure upon the trigger. 

The night closed in black; the clouded sky gave forth 
no starlight; the wind rose and moaned through the cedars. 
One by one the rustlers rolled in their blankets and all 

274 



UNLEASHED 

dropped into slumber while the camp-fire slowly burned 
down. The night hours wore on to the soft wail of the 
breeze and the wild notes of far-off trailing coyotes. 

Hare, watching sleeplessly, saw one of the prone figures 
stir. The man raised himself very cautiously; he glanced 
at his companions, and looked long at Holderness, who lay 
squarely in the dimming light. Then he softly lowered 
himself. Hare wondered what the rustler meant to do. 
Presently he again lifted his head and turned it as if listening 
intently. His companions were motionless in deep-breath- 
ing sleep. Gently he slipped aside his blankets and began 
to rise. He was slow and guarded of movement; it took 
him long to stand erect. He stepped between the rustlers 
with stockinged feet which were as noiseless as an Indian's, 
and he went toward the cabin door. 

He softly edged round the sleeping Holderness, showing 
a glinting six-shooter in his hand. Hare's resolve to kill 
him before he reached the door was checked. What did 
it mean, this rustler's stealthy movements, his passing by 
Holderness with his drawn weapon! Again doom hovered 
over the rustler chief. If he stirred! — Hare knew instantly 
that this softly stepping man was a Mormon; he was true 
to Snap Naab, to the woman pledged in his creed. He 
meant to free Mescal. 

I If ever Hare breathed a prayer it was then. What if 
one of the band awakened ! As the rustler turned at the 
door his dark face gleamed in the flickering light. He un- 
wound the lasso and opened the door without a sound. 

Hare whispered: "Heavens! if he goes in she'll 
scream! that will wake Holderness — then I must shoot — I 
must!" 

275 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

But the Mormon rustler added wisdom to his cunning 
and stealth. 

"Hist !" he whispered into the cabin. "Hist !" 

Mescal must have been awake; she must have guessed 
instantly the meaning of that low whisper, for silently she 
appeared in the doorway, silently she held forth her bound 
hands. The man untied the bonds and pointed into the 
cedars toward the corral. Swift and soundless as a flitting 
shadow Mescal vanished in the gloom. The Mormon stole 
with wary, unhurried steps back to his bed and rolled in his 
blankets. 

Hare rose unsteadily, wavering in the hot grip of a 
moment that seemed to have but one issue — the killing of 
Holdemess. Mescal would soon be upon Silvermane, far 
out on the White Sage trail, and this time there would be no 
sand-strip to trap her. But Hare could not kill the rustler 
while he was sleeping; and he could not awaken him with- 
out revealing to his men the escape of the girl. Hare stood 
there on the bench, gazing down on the blanketed Holder- 
ness. Why not kill him now, ending forever his power, 
and trust to chance for the rest ? No, no ! Hare flung the 
temptation from him. To ward off pursuit as long as pos- 
sible, to aid Mescal in every way to some safe hiding-place, 
and then to seek Holdemess — that was the forethought 
of a man who had learned to wait. 

Under the dark projection of the upper cliff Hare felt 
his way to the cedar slope, and the trail, and then he went 
swiftly down into the little hollow where he had left BoUy. 
The darkness of the forest hindered him, but he came at 
length to the edge of the aspen thicket; he penetrated it, 
and guided toward Bolly by a suspicious stamp and neigh, 

276 



UNLEASHED 

he found her and quieted her with a word. He rode down 
the hollow, out upon the level valley. 

The clouds had broken somewhat, letting pale light down 
through rifts. All about him cattle were lying in a thick 
gloom. It was penetrable for only a few rods. The 
ground was like a cushion under BoUy's hoofs, giving forth 
no sound. The mustang threw up her head, causing Hare 
to peer into the night-fog. Rapid hoof-beats broke the 
silence, a vague gray shadow moved into sight. He saw 
Silvermane and called as loudly as he dared. The stallion 
melted into the misty curtain, the beating of hoofs softened 
and ceased. Hare spurred Bolly to her fleetest. He 
had a long, silent chase, but it was futile, and unneces- 
sarily hard on the mustang; so he pulled her in to a 
trot. 

Hare kept Bolly to this gait the remainder of the night, 
and when the eastern sky lightened he found the trail and 
reached Seeping Springs at dawn. Silvermane's tracks 
were deep in the clay at the drinking-trough. He rested 
a few moments, gave Bolly sparingly of grain and water, 
and once more took to the trail. 

From the ridge below the spring he saw Silvermane 
beyond the valley, miles ahead of him. This day seemed 
shorter than the foregoing one; it passed while he watched 
Silvermane grow smaller and smaller and disappear on the 
looming slope of Coconina. Hare's fear that Mescal would 
run into the riders Holderness expected from his ranch 
grew less and less after she had reached "the cover of the 
cedars. That she would rest the stallion at the Navajo 
pool on the mountain he made certain. Late in the night 
he came to the camping spot and found no trace to prove 
. 277 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

that she bad halted there even to let Silvermane drink. 
So be tied the tired mustang and slept until daylight. 

He crossed the plateau and began the descent. Before he 
was half-way down the warm bright sun had cleared the 
valley of vapor and shadow. Far along the winding white 
trail shone a speck. It was Silvermane ?lmost out of sight. 

"Ten miles — fifteen, more maybe," said Hare. "Mescal 
will soon be in the village." 

Again hours of travel flew by like winged moments. 
Thoughts of time, distance, monotony, fatigue, purpose, 
were shut out from his mind. A rushing kaleidoscopic 
dance of images filled his consciousness, but they were all 
of Mescal. Safety for her had unsealed the fountain of 
happiness. 

It was near sundovm when he rode Black Bolly into 
White Sage, and took the back road, and the pasture lane to 
Bishop Caldwell's cottage. John, one of the Bishop's sons, 
was in the barn-yard and ran to open the gate. 

"Mescal!" cried Hare. 

"Safe," replied the Mormon. 

"Have you hidden her ?" 

"She's in a secret cave, a Mormon hiding-place for 
women. Only a few men know of its existence. Rest 
easy, for she's absolutely safe." 

"Thank God! . . . then that's settled." Hare drew 
a long, deep breath. 

"Mescal told us what happened, h6w she got caught at 
the sand-strip and escaped from Holdemess at Silver Cup. 
Was Dene hurt ?" 

"Silvermane killed him." 

"Good God! How things come about! I saw you run 
278 



UNLEASHED 

Dene doym that time here in White Sage. It must have 
been written. Did Holderness shoot Snap Naab ?" 

"Yes." 
I "What of old Naab ? Won't he come down here now 
to lead us Mormons against the rustlers ?" 
I "He called the Navajos across the river. He meant to 
take the trail alone and kill Holderness, keeping the Indians 
back a few days. If he failed to return then they were to 
ride out on the rustlers. Bat his plan must be changed, 
for I came ahead of him." 

"For what? Mescal?" 

"No. For Holderness." 

"You'll kill him!" 

"Yes." 

"He'll be coming soon ? — When ?" 

"To-morrow, possibly by daylight. He wants Mescal. 
There's a chance Naab may have reached Silver Gup before 
Holderness left, but I doubt it." 

"May I know your plan?" The Mormon hesitated 
while his strong brown face flashed with daring inspiration. 
"I — I've a good reason." 

" Plan ? — Yes. Hide Bolly and Silvermane in the little 
arbor down in the orchard. I'll stay outside to-night, sleep 
a little — for I'm dead tired — and watch in the morning. 
Holderness will come here with his men, perhaps not openly 
at first, to drag Mescal away. He'll mean to use strategy, 
I'll meet him when he comes — that's all." 

"It's well. I ask you not to mention this to my father. 
Come in, now. You need food and rest. Later 111 hide 
Bolly and Silvermane in the arbor." 

Hare met the Bishop and his family with composure, but 
279 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

his arrival following so closely upon Mescal's, increased 
their alarm. They seemed repelled yet fascinated by his 
face. Hare ate in silence. John Caldwell did not come in 
to supper; his brothers mysteriously left the table before 
finishing the meal. A subdued murmur of voices floated 
in at the open window. 

Darkness found Hare wrapped in a blanket under the 
trees. He needed sleep that would loose the strange dead- 
lock of his thoughts, clear the blur from his eyes, ease the 
pain in his head and weariness of limbs — ^all these weak- 
nesses of which he had suddenly become conscious. Time 
and again he had almost wooed slumber to him when 
soft footsteps on the gravel paths, low voices, the 
gentle closing of the gate, brought him back to the unreal 
fistening wakefulness. The sounds continued late into the 
flight, and when he did fall asleep he dreamed of them. 
He awoke to a dawn clearer than the light from the noon- 
day sun. In his ears was the ringing of a bell. He could 
not stand still, and his movements were subtle and swift. 
His hands took a peculiar, tenacious, hold of everything he 
chanced to touch. He paced his hidden walk behind the 
arbor, at every turn glancing sharply up and down the 
road. Thoughts came to him clearly, yet one was domi- 
nant. The morning was curiously quiet, the sons of the 
Bishop had strangely disappeared — a sense of imminent 
catastrophe was in the air. 

A band of horsemen closely grouped turned into the road 
and trotted forward. Some of the men wore black masks. 
Holdemess rode at the front, his red-gold beard shining in 
the sunlight. The steady clip-clop of hoofs and clinking 
of iron stirrups broke the morning quiet. Holdemess, with 

280 



tJNLEASHED 

two of his men, dismounted before the Bishop's gate; the 
others of the band trotted on down the road. The ring of 
Holderness's laugh preceded the snap of the gate-latch. 

Hare stood calm and cold behind his green covert watch- 
ing the three men stroll up the garden path. Holdemess 
took a cigarette from his lips as he neared the porch and 
blew out circles of white smoke. Bishop Caldwell tottered 
from the cottage rapping the porch-floor with his cane. 

"Good-morning, Bishop," greeted Holderness, blandly, 
baring his head. 

"To you, sir," quavered the old man, with his wavering 
blue eyes fixed on the spurred and belted rustler. Holder- 
ness stepped out in front of his companions, a superb man, 
courteous, smiling, entirely at his ease. 

"I rode in to — " 

Hare leaped from his hiding-place. 

"Holderness!" 

The rustler pivoted on whirling heels. 

"Dene's spy!" he exclaimed,- aghast. Swift changes 
swept his mobile features. Fear flickered in his eyes as he 
faced his foe; then came wonder, a glint of amusement, 
dark anger, and the terrible instinct of death impending. 

"Naab's trick!" hissed Hare, with his hand held high. 
The suggestion in his words, the meaning in his look, 
held the three rustlers transfixed. The surprise was his 
strength. 

In Holderness's amber eyes shone his desperate calcula- 
tion of chances. Hare's fateful glance, impossible to elude, 
his strung form slightly crouched, his cold deliberate mention 
of Naab's trick, and more than all the poise of that quivering 
hand, filled the rustler with a terror that he could not hide. 

28X 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

He had been bidden to draw and he could not summon 
the force. 

"Naab's trick!" repeated Hare, mockingly. 

Suddenly Holderness reached for his gun. 

Hare's hand leapt like a lightning stroke. Gleam of blue 
-spurt of red — crash ! 

Holderness swayed with blond head swinging backward, 
the amber of his eyes suddenly darkened; the life in them 
glazed; like a log he fell clutching the weapon he had half 
drawn. 



XX 

THE RAGE OF THE OLD LION 

" ■' I ""AKE Holderness away — quick!"' ordered Hare. A 

1 thin curl of blue smoke floated from the muzzle of 
his raised weapon. 

The rustlers started out of their statue-like immobility, 
and lifting their dead leader dragged him down the garden 
path with his spurs clinking on the gravel and ploughing 
little furrows. 

"Bishop, go in now. They may return," said Hare. 
He hurried up the steps to place his arm round the tottering 
old man. 

"Was that Holderness ?" 

"Yes," replied Hare. 

"The deeds of the wicked return unto them! God's 
will!" 

Hare led the Bishop indoors. The sitting-rOom was full 
of wailing women and crying children. None of the young 
men were present. Again Hare made note of their inex- 
plicable absence. He spoke soothingly to the frightened 
family. The little boys and girls yielded readily to his 
persuasion, but the women took no heed of him. 

"Where are your sons ?" asked Hare. 

"I don't know," replied the Bishop. "They should be 
here to stand by you. It's strange. I don't understand. 
19 283 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Last night my sons were visited by many men, coming and 
going in twos and threes till late. They didn't sleep in their 
beds. I know not what to think." 

Hare remembered John Caldwell's enigmatic face. 

"Have the rustlers really come ?" asked a young woman, 
whose eyes were red and cheeks tear-stained. 

"They have. Nineteen in all. I counted them," an- 
swered Hare. 

The young woman burst out weeping afresh, and the 
wailing of the others answered her. Hare left the cottage. 
He picked up his rifle and went down through the orchard 
to the hiding-place of the horses. Silvermane pranced and 
snorted his gladness at sight of his master. The desert king 
was fit for a grueling race. Black Bolly quietly cropped 
the long grass. Hare saddled the stallion to have him in 
instant readiness, and then returned to the front of the yard. 

He heard the sound of a gun down the road, then 
another, and several shots following in quick succession. 
A distant angry murmuring and trampling of many feet 
drew Hare to the gate. Riderless mustangs were galloping 
down the road; several frightened boys were fleeing across 
the square; not a man was in sight. Three more shots 
cracked, and the low murmur and trampling swelled into a 
hoarse uproar. Hare had heard that sound before; it was 
the tumult of mob-violence. A black dense throng of men 
appeared crowding into the main street, and crossing tow- 
ard the square. The procession had some order; it was 
led and flanked by mounted men. But the upfiinging ol 
many arms, the craning of necks, and the leaping of men 
on the outskirts of the mass, the pressure inward and the 
hideous roar, proclaimed its real character. 

284 



THE RAGE OF THE OLD LION 

"By Heaven!" exclaimed Hare. "The Mormons have 
risen against the rustlers. I understand now. John 
Caldwell spent last night in secretly rousing his neighbors. 
They have surprised the rustlers. Now what ?" 

Hare vaulted the fence and ran down the road. A com- 
pact mob of men, a hundred or more, had halted in the 
village under the wide - spreading cottonwoods. Hare 
suddenly grasped the terrible significance of those out- 
stretched branches, and out of the thought grew an- 
other which made him run at bursting break -neck 
speed. 

" Open up ! Let me in !" he yelled to the thickly thronged 
circle. Right and left he flung men. "Make way!" His 
piercing voice stilled the angry murmur. Fierce men with 
weapons held aloft fell back from his face. 

"Dene's spy!" they cried. 

The circle opened and closed upon him. He saw bound 
rustlers under armed guard. Foiir still forms were on the 
ground. Holderness lay outstretched, a dark -red blot 
staining his gray shirt. Flinty-faced Mormons, ruthless 
now as they had once been mild, surrounded the rustlers. 
John Caldwell stood foremost, with ashen lips breaking 
bitterly into speech: 

"Mormons, this is Dene's spy, the man who killed Hol- 
derness!" 

The 'isteners burst into the short stem shout of men pro- 
claiming a leader in war. 

"What's the game ?" demanded Hare. 

"A fair trial for the rustlers, then a rope," replied John 
Caldwell. The low ominous murmur swelled through the 
crowd again. 

28s 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"There are two men here who have befriended me. 
I won't see them hanged." 

"Pick them out!" A strange ripple of emotion made a 
fleeting break in John Caldwell's hard face. 

Hare eyed the prisoners. 

"Nebraska, step out here," said he. 

"I reckon you're mistaken," replied the rustler, his blue 
eyes intently on Hare. "I never seen you before. An' I 
ain't the kind of a feller to cheat the man you mean." 

"I saw you untie the girl's hands." 

"You did ? Well, d n me!" 

"Nebraska, if I save your life will you quit rustling 
cattle ? You weren't cut out for a thief." 

"Willi? D ^nme! I'll be straight an' decent. I'll 

take a job ridin' for you, stranger, an' prove it." 

"Gut him loose from the others," said Hare. He 
scrutinized the line of rustlers. Several were masked in 
black. "Take off those masks!" 

"No! Those men go to their graves masked." Again 
the strange twinge of pain crossed John Caldwell' i face. 

"Ah! I see," exclaimed Hare. Then quickly: "I 
couldn't recognize the other man anyhow; I don't know 
him. But Mescal can tell. He saved her and I'll save him. 
But how ?" 

Every rustler, except the masked ones standing stem 
and silent, clamored that he was the one to be saver*. 

"Hurry back home," said Caldwell in Hare's ear. 
"Tell them to fetch Mescal. Find out and hurry back. 
Time presses. The Mormons are wavering. You've got 
only a few minutes." 

Hare slipped out of the crowd, sped up the road, jumped 
286 



THE RAGE OF THE OLD LION 

the fence on the run, and burst in upon the Bishop and his 
family, 

"No danger — don't be alarmed — all's well," he panted. 
"The rustlers are captured. I want Mescal. Quick! 
Where is she ? Fetch her, somebody." 

One of the women glided from the room. Hare caught 
the clicking of a latch, the closing of a door, hollow foot- 
falls descending on stone, and dying away under the cot- 
tage. They rose again, ending in swiftly pattering foot- 
steps. Like a whirlwind Mescal came through the hall, 
black hair flying, dark eyes beaming. 

"My darling!" Oblivious of the Mormons he swung her 
up and held her in his arms. "Mescal! Mescal!" . . . 
When he raised his face from the tumbling mass of her 
black hair, the Bishop and his family had left the room. 

"Listen, Mescal. Be calm. I'm safe. The rustlers 
are prisoners. One of them released you from Holderness. 
Tell me which one ?" 

"I don't know," replied Mescal. "I've tried to think. 
I didn't see his face; I can't remember his voice." 

"Think! Think! He'll be hanged if you don't recall 
something to identify him. He deserves a chance. Holder- 
ness's crowd are thieves, murderers. But two were not all 
bad. That showed the night you were at Silver Cup. I 
saved Nebraska — " 

"Were you at Silver Cup? Jack!" 

"Hush! don't interrupt me. We must save this man who 
saved you. Think' Mescal! Think!" 

" Oh ! I can't. What — how shall I remember ?" 

"Something about him. Think of his coat, his sleeve. 
You must remember something. Did you see his hands ?" 

287 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"Yes, I did — when he was loosing the cords," said Mescal, 
eagerly. " Long, strong fingers. I felt them too. He has 
a sharp rough wart on one hand, I don't know which. He 
wears a leather wristband." 

"That's enough!" Hare bounded out upon the garden 
walk and raced back to the crowded square. The uneasy 
circle stirred and opened for him to enter. He stumbled 
over a pile of lassoes which had not been there when he left. 
The stony Mormons waited; the rustlers coughed and 
shifted their feet. John Caldwell turned a gray face. Hare 
bent over the three dead rustlers lying with Holdemess, and 
after a moment of anxious scrutiny he rose to confront the 
line of prisoners. 

"Hold out your hands." 

One by one they complied. The sixth rustler in the line, 
a tall fellow, completely masked, refused to do as he was 
bidden. Twice Hare spoke. The rustler twisted his 
bound hands under his coat. 

"Let's see them," sajid Hare, quickly. He grasped the 
fellow's arm and received a violent push that almost knocked 
him over. Grappling with the rustler, he pulled up the 
bound hands, in spite of fierce resistance, and there were the 
long fingers, the sharp wart, the laced wristband. "Here's 
my man!" he said. \ 

I "No," hoarsely mumbled the rustler. The perspiration 
ran down his corded neck; his breast heaved convulsively. 

"You fool!" cried Hare, dumfounded and resentful. "I 
recognized you. Would you rather hang than live ? What's 
your secret ?" 

He snatched oiF the black mask. The Bishop's eldest 
SQD stood revealed. 



THE RAGE OF THE OLD LION 

"Good God!" cried Hare, recoiling from that convulsed 
face. 

"Brother! Oh! I feared this," groaned John Caldwell. 

The rustlers broke out into Curses and harsh laughter. 

" you Mormons! See him! Paul Caldwell! 

Son of a Bishop! Thought he was shepherdin' sheep ?" 

"D n you. Hare!" shouted the guilty Mormon, in 

passionate fury and shame. "Why didn't you hang me? 
Why didn't you buiy me unknown ?" 

"Caldwell! I can't believe it," cried Hare, slowly com- 
ing to himself. "But you don't hang. Here, come out 
of the crowd. Make way, men!" 

The silent crowd of Mormons with lowered and averted 
eyes made passage for Hare and Caldwell. Then cold, 
stern voices in sharp questions and orders went on with the 
grim trial. Leading the bowed and stricken Mormon, Hare 
drew off to the side of the town-hall and turned his back 
upon the crowd. The constant trampling of many feet, 
the harsh medley of many voices swelled into one dreadful 
sound. It passed away, and a long hush followed. But 
this in turn was suddenly broken by an outcry: 

"TheNavajos! TheNavajos!" 

Hare thrilled at that cry and his glance turned to the 
eastern end of the village road where a column of mounted 
Indians, four abreast, was riding toward the square. 

"Naab and his Indians," shouted Hare. "Naab and 
his Indians! No fear!" His call was timely, for the aroused 
Mormons, ignorant of Naab's pursuit, fearful of hostile 
NavaJQS, were handling their guns ominously. 

But there came a ciy of recognition — "August Naab!" 

Onward came the band, Naab in the lead on his spotted 
289 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

roan. The mustangs were spent and lashed with foam. 
Naab reined in his charger and the keen -eyed Navajos 
closed in behind him. The old Mormon's eagle glance 
passed over the dark forms dangling from the cottonwoods 
to the files of waiting men. 

"Where is he ?" ' 

"There!" answered John Caldwell, pointing to the body 
of Holderness. 

"Who robbed me of my vengeance ? Who killed the 
rustler ?" Naab's stentorian voice rolled over the listening 
multitude. In it was a hunger of thwarted hate that held 
men mute. He bent a downward gaze at the dead Holder- 
ness as if to make sure of the ghastly reality. Then he 
seemed to rise in his saddle, and his broad chest to expand. 
"I know — I saw it all — blind I was not to believe my own 
eyes! Where is he ? Where is Hare ?" 

Some one pointed Hare out. Naab swung from his saddle 
and scattered the men before him as if they had been sheep. 
His shaggy gray head and massive shoulders towered above 
the tallest there. 

Hare felt again a cold sense of fear. He grew weak in 
all his being. He reeled when the gray shaggy giant laid 
a huge hand on his shoulder and with one pull dragged him 
close. Was this his kind Mormon benefactor, this man with 
the awful eyes ? 

"You killed Holderness ?" roared Naab. 

"Yes," whispered Hare. 

"You heard me say I'd go alone ? You forestalled me ? 
You took upon yourself my work ? . . . Speak." 

"I— did." 

"By what right?" 

290 



THE RAGE OF THE OLD LION 

"My debt — duty — ^your family — Dave!" 

"Boy! Boy! You've robbed me." Naab waved his arm 
from the gaping crowd to the swinging rustlers. "You've 
led these white-livered Mormons to do my work. How can 
I avenge my sons — seven sons ?" 

His was the rage of the old desert-lion. He loosed Hare, 
and strode in magnificent wrath over Holdemess and raised 
his brawny fists. 

"Eighteen years I prayed for wicked men," he rolled out. 
"One by one I buried my sons. I gave my springs and my 
cattle. Then I yielded to the lust for blood. I renounced 
my religion. I paid my soul to everlasting hell for the life 
of my foe. But he's dead! Killed by a wild boy! I sold 
myself to the devil for nothing!" 

August Naab raved out his unnatural rage amid awed 
silence. His revolt was the flood of years undammed at 
the last. The ferocity of the desert spirit spoke silently 
in the hanging rustlers, in the ruthlessness of the vigilantes 
who had destroyed them, but it spoke truest in the sonorous 
roll of the old Mormon's wrath. 

"August, young Hare saved two of the rustlers," spoke 
up an old friendj hoping to divert the angry flood. " Paul 
Caldwell there, he was one of them. The other's gone." 

Naab loomed over him. "What!" he roared. His friend 
edged away, repeating his words and jerking his thumb 
backward toward the Bishop's son. 

"Judas Iscariot!" thundered Naab. "Falge to thyself, 
thy kin, and thy God! Thrice traitor! . . . Why 
didn't you get yourself killed ? . . . Why are you left ? 
Ah-h! for me — a rustler for me to kill — with my own hands! 
•:— A rope there — a rope!" 

291 



/ 
THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT ^ 

"I wanted them to hang me," hoarsely cried Caldvrelly 
writhing in Naab's grasp. 

Hare threw all his weight and strength upon the Mor- 
mon's iron arm. "Naab! Naab! For God's sake, hear! 
He saved Mescal. This man, thief, traitor, false Mormon 
—whatever he is — he saved Mescal." 

August Naab's eyes were bloodshot. One shake of his 
great body flung Hare off. He dragged Paul Caldwell 
across the grass toward the cottonwood as easily as if he 
were handling an empty grain-sack. ' 

I Hare suddenly darted after him. "August! August! — 
look! look!" he cried. He pointed a shaking finger down 
the square. The old Bishop came tottering over the grass, 
leaning on his cane, shading his eyes with his hand. 
"August. See, the Bishop's coming. Paul's father! Do 
you hear ?" 

Hare's appeal pierced Naab's frenzied brain. The Mor- 
mon Elder saw his old Bishop pause and stare at the dark 
shapes suspended frorn the cottonwoods and hold up his 
hands in horror. 

Naab loosed his hold. His frame seemed wrenched as 
though by the passing of an evil spirit, and the reaction left 
his face transfigured. 

"Paul, it's your father, the Bishop," he said, brokenly. 
"Be a man. He must never know." Naab spread wide 
his arms to the crowd. "Men, listen," he said. "Of all, 
of us Mormons I have lost most, suffered most. Then hear 
me. • Bishop Caldwell must never know of his son's guilt. 
He would sink under it. Keep the secret. Paul will be a 
man again. I know. I see. For, Mormons, August Naab 
has the gift of revelation!" 



XXI 

MESCAL 

SUMMER gleams of golden sunshine swam under the 
glistening red walls of the oasis. Shadows from white 
clouds, like sails on a deep-blue sea, darkened the broad 
fields of alfalfa. Circling columns of smoke were wafted far 
above the cottonwoods and floated in the still air. The 
desert-red color of Navajo blankets brightened the grove. 

Half-naked bronze Indians lolled in the shade, lounged 
on the cabin porches and stood about the sunny glade in idle 
groups. They wore the dress of peace. A single black- 
tipped white eagle feather waved above the band binding 
each black head. They watched the merry children tumble 
round the playground. Silvermane browsed where he 
listed under the shady trees, and many a sinewy red hand 
caressed his flowing mane. Black Bolly neighed her jealous 
displeasure from the corral, and the other mustangs trampled 
and kicked and whistled defiance across the bars. The 
peacocks preened their gorgeous plumage and uttered their 
clarion calls. The belligerent turkey-gobblers sidled about 
ruflling their feathers. The blackbirds and swallows sang 
and twittered their happiness to find old nests in the branches 
and under the eaves. Over all boomed the dull roar of the 
Colorado in flood. 

It was the morning of Mescal's wedding-day. 

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THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

August Naab, for once without a task, sat astride a peeled 
log of driftwood in the lane, and Hare stood beside him. 

"Five thousand steers, lad! Why do you refuse them? 
They're worth ten dollars a head to-day in Salt Lake City. 
A good start for a young man." 

"No, I'm still in your debt." 

"Then share alike with my sons in work and profit ?" 

"Yes, I can accept that." 

"Good! Jack, I see happiness and prosperity for you. 
Do you remember that night on the White Sage trail ? Ah! 
Well, the worst is over. We can look forward to better 
times. It's not likely the rustlers will ride into Utah again. 
But this desert will never be free from strife." 

"Tell me of Mescal," said Hare. 

"Ah! Yes, I'm coming to that." Naab bent his head 
over the log and chipped off little pieces with his knife. 
"Jack, will you come into the Mormon Church ?" 

Long had Hare shrunk from this question which he felt 
must inevitably come, and now he met it as bravely as he 
could, knowing he would pain his friend. 

"No, August, I can't," he replied. "I feel— differently 
from Mormons about — about women. If it wasn't for 
that! I look upon you as a father. I'll do anj^ing for 
you, except that. No one could pray to be a better man 
than you. Your work, your religion, your life — Why! 
I've no words to say what I feel. Teach me what little 
you can of them, August, but don't ask me — that." 

"Well, well," sighed Naab. The gray clearness of his 
eagle eyes grew shadowed and his worn face was sad. It was 
the look of a strong wise man who seemed to hear doubt and 
failure knocking at the gate of his creed. But he loved life 

294 



MESCAL 

too well, to be unhappy; he saw it too clearly not to know 
there was nothing wholly good, wholly perfect, wholly with- 
out error. The shade passed from his face like the cloud- 
shadow from the sunlit lane. 

, "You ask about Mescal," he mused. "There's little 
' more to tell." 

"But her father — can you tell me more of him ?" 

"Little more than I've already told. He was evidently a 
man of some rank. I suspected that he ruined his life and 
became an adventurer. His health was shattered when 1 
brought him here, but he got well after a year or so. He 
was a splendid, handsome fellow. He spoke very seldom, 
and I don't remember ever seeing him smile. His favorite 
walk was the river trail. I came upon him there one day 
and found him dying. He asked me to have a care of 
Mescal. And he died muttering a Spanish word, a woman's 
name, I think." 

"I'll cherish Mescal the more," said Hare. 

"Cherish her, yes. My Bible will this day give her a 
name. We know she has the blood of a great chief. Beau- 
tiful she is and good. I raised her for the Mormon Church, 
but God disposes after all, and I — " 

A shrill screeching sound split the warm stillness^ the 
long-drawn-out bray of a burro. 

" Jack, look down the lane. If it isn't Noddle !" 
' Under the shady line of the red wall a little gray burro 
came trotting leisurely along with one long brown ear 
standing straight up, the other hanging down over his 
nose. 

"By George! it's Noddle!" exclaimed Hare. "He's 
climbed out of the canon. Won't this please Mescal ?" 

295 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

"Hey, Mother Mary," called Naab toward the -cabin. 
"Send Mescal out. Here's a wedding-present." 

With laughing wonder the women-folk flocked out into 
the yard. Mescal hung back shy-eyed, roses dyeing the 
brown of her cheeks. 

"Mescal's wedding-present from Thunder River, Just 
arrived!" called Naab cheerily, yet deep-voiced with the 
happiness he knew the tidings would give. "A dusty, dirty, 
shaggy, starved, lop-eared, lazy burro — ^Noddle!" 

Mescal flew out into the lane, and with a strange broken 
cry of joy that was half a sob she fell upon her knees and 
clasped the little burro's neck. Noddle wearily flapped his 
long brown ears, wearily nodded his white nose; then 
evidently considering the incident closed, he went lazily to 
sleep. 

"Noddle! dear old Noddle!" murmured Mescal, with 
far-seeing, thought-mirroring eyes. "For you to come back 
to-day from our canon! . , . Oh! The long dark nights 
with the thunder of the river and the lonely voices! . . . 
they come back to me. . . , Wolf, Wolf, here's Noddle, 
the same faithful old Noddle!" 

August Naab married Mescal and Hare at noon under 
the shade of the cottonwoods. Eschtah, magnificent in 
robes of state, stood up with them. The many members of 
Naab's family and the grave Navajos formed an attentive 
circle around them. The ceremony was brief. At its close 
the Mormon lifted his face and arms in characteristic 
invocation. 

"Almighty God, we entreat Thy blessing upon this 
marriage. Many and inscrutable are Thy ways; strange 
are the workings of Thy will; wondrous the purpose with 

296 



MESCAL 

which Thou hast brought this man and this woman together. 
Watch over them in the new path they are to tread, help 
them in the trials to come; and in Thy good time, when they 
have reached the fulness of days, when they have known 
the joy of life and rendered their service, gather them to Thy 
bosom in that eternal home where we all pray to meet Thy 
chosen ones of good; yea, and the evil ones purified in 
Thy mercy. Amen." 

Happy congratulations of the Mormon family, a merry 
romp of children flinging flowers, marriage-dance of singing 
Navajos — these, with the feast spread under the cotton- 
woods, filled the warm noon-hours of the day. 

Then the chief Eschtah raised his lofty form, and turned 
his eyes upon the bride and groom. 

"Eschtah's hundred summers smile in the face of youth. 
The arm of the White Chief is strong; the kiss of the Flower 
of the Desert is sweet. Let Mescal and Jack rest their 
heads on one pillow, and sleep under the trees, and chant 
when the dawn brightens in the east. Out of his wise years 
the Navajo bids them love while they may. Daughter of 
my race, take the blessing of the Navajo." 

Jack lifted Mescal upon Black Bolly and mounted Silver- 
mane. Piute grinned till he shook his earrings and started 
the pack burros toward the plateau trail. Wolf pattered 
on before, turning his white head, impatient of delay. Amid 
tears and waving of hands and cheers they began the zigzag 
ascent. 

When they reached the old camp on the plateau the sun 
was setting behind the Painted Desert. With hands 
closely interwoven they watched the color fade and the 
mustering of purple shadows. 

297 



THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT 

Twilight fell. Piute raked the red coals from the glowing 
centre of the camp-fire. Wolf crouched all his long white 
length, his sharp nose on his paws, watching Mescal. 
Hare watched her, too. The night shone in her eyes, the 
light of the fire, the old, brooding mystic desert-spirit, and 
something more. The thump of Silvermane's hobbled 
hoofs was heard in the darkness; Bolly's bell jangled 
musically. The sheep were bleating. A lonesome coyote 
barked. The white stars blinked out of the blue and the 
night breeze whispered softly among the cedars. 



THE END 



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